Amazing, that’s the truth. They were not expected, not what I went looking for. They were not the wild black dog I’d been catching glimpses of—dog that might be rabid, might be metaphor, might be just a shaggy black dog.
Instead, this white gorilla at the bottom of the squared, open stairwell. Quiet. Visible only because I leaned out so far over the stairs, metal railing pressed against my stomach, my hands gripping its cold circle, breaking my palms into sweat. Old air of baked dust rose up, mixed with the scent of metal touched by decades of hands.
I’ll remember this smell my whole life, I thought. And it will always take me here, to this single moment. The moment before I decide if I’m scared, the moment before the gorilla senses me. The moment before he raises his enormous head and looks up.