"Welcome! It is very nice to meet you! How is your day going so far? I hope you are enjoying the exhibition and having a lot of fun!"
Here I am - all smiling nicely, greeting you politely, doing all the predictable and socially acceptable moves. I am trying my best every day to navigate my life as smoothly as possible, following the written and unwritten rules of what it means to be a respectful and successful member of our well advanced democratic society. I shave, I pray, I vote, I work, I send invitations and thank you cards, I am married and responsible enough not to bring children into this world, I work hard and strive for artistic recognition, eat healthy and I am saving for retirement as everyone should. I fear the unruly, disobedient, wild and in other ways politically incorrect acts that might interrupt my smooth sailing. I wake up every day hoping that nothing unexpected will get in my way to reach the goal of a reasonably uneventful and successful journey between the day of my birth and death.
Yet when darkness comes, the wolf in me awakes with a lustful yawn, his nostrils widen as they take in all the inviting flavours of the night. The legs stretch after a long sleep, my neck prolongs and a long deep howl escapes. My whole body just tingles, longing to run as fast as I can into the black night, through bushes and thorns, where I feel my prey moving with fear - rightful fear - since I am hungry, so hungry I can feel the iron taste of blood on my teeth. I bite and tear, grab and shake, gulping as fast as I can. Then I drink the cold water from the stream, splashing it all over my bloody mouth. Suddenly I can hear the howling of my mates in the valley. I was alone for too long… My loneliness is painful in my loins, the smell of females in heat pulls me closer. I want them all….
After a night full of events the wolf gets exhausted and tired and sheepishly as a lamb crawls into his den, falling asleep for a long time. Then my day begins, full of errands and good intentions.
I am both, I am your good neighbour and the wolf next door. The Steppenwolf is sleeping in me. I love my daily routines and struggles for sense and order and I love my wolf. Sometimes he sleeps for a long time, I almost forget about him, but then he reminds me of himself even louder. Sometimes he surprises me and then takes over without invitation - I am relieved when he falls asleep again. Other times I want him to show up and he is nowhere to be seen. Sometimes I feed him secretly; sometimes he brings me his prey to my doorstep. We live together in this strange harmony; we both know we wouldn't be the same without each other. He is me and I am him.
written by Marketa Nykl