The Bear — a short story

6 min readJun 14, 2022
Photo by Olivier Guillard on Unsplash

I went to the cabin in the woods to be alone. It seemed fitting to sit and stare at what had been left untouched, and I wanted silence. The cabin was dark. It had a cot perched in a makeshift kind of loft, so when I looked outside, I could imagine I was part of the endless expanse of night. A large bear-foot tub sat in front of a big picture window. There were mats on the floor and a wood burning fireplace with an ax. I didn’t pack my phone. Not my computer either. I just wanted the earth to hold me on its tongue, cradled in the cave of its mouth. Warm, safe, and sacred as a mother’s breath.

Walking outside, I hung a hammock between two Pine trees and took out my paper and pencils to sketch. I held the tip of the charcoal to the page for ages, feeling my heart race and beat against my chest — like it wanted to say something but nothing was quite right. So, I cocooned myself in the hammock, wishing to be reborn, until the air felt heavy and I could hear anger building down a hallway and footsteps, each a heavy sigh. And I sat up, pacing the landscape to see something that could bring me back to beautiful. Back to before.

Following a narrow path, I came to a small river. An altogether lovely space with a happy waterfall that I dared to stand under. The water, though shockingly cold, was a baptism. I let it run over me, feeling it between the channel of my breasts, traveling in rivulets wherever it pleased. Possessing me entirely. Stepping out, I sat on a rock to let the breeze have its turn to whisper secrets and press its soft caresses. I was the wild world reclaiming my rightful place. I relished the caress and shuttered my relief.

It was then that I heard rustling in the wood. I let my eyes follow the sound, holding my arms around my now cold frame. Perhaps it was nothing. But the river suddenly felt a greedy lover, laughing and rambling along though I could still feel it pressing on my skin.

Night fell with a myriad of stars twinkling their long stories in the darkness. Thousands of years old, told and re-told every night. The tub was filled with hot water — enough to scold the skin to alertness before surrendering to oblivion. There were no lights, save the muted sky, and I situated myself to look out into the wood, now full of night. The bear came out from the trees to the clearing by the cabin. It…


I am an assistant principal at a small middle school. I care deeply about people and I like to find solutions if I can. Life is hard. Let's be kind