He sits outside of the pack and listens to the other wolves. He takes what comfort he can from their proximity, even if he’s not one of them. It’s not because he doesn’t want to be, not because they wouldn’t welcome him.
Maybe they would. Maybe they’d accept him. Maybe he could be a part of the circle, sit with them, live with them.
It wasn’t fear. He wasn’t afraid of them or of what they would do to him, or that they wouldn’t accept him.
It wasn’t that he didn’t like being amongst them, either. He just didn’t know how to be amongst them. How to act, what to do. What to say.
This was how he dealt with his own pain, his own suffering. He preferred to be on the outside, where he could hear them and know they were there.
He liked hearing that they were close.
Hearing their sounds, hearing them. He liked knowing they were there.
After a time, his father found him. “Everyone’s going,” he said gently. “They’re saying goodbye to your mother now. They’re… in the room around the bed. They’re saying goodbye. Come a-and… Come and say goodbye, son.”