The Lone Wolf
By: James Thomas (AKA Granas)
Picture if you will, a lone wolf who, while almost always happy, most certainly felt alone. This wolf would never let anyone know how he actually felt, instead he would remain introverted, afraid to open up to anyone, even his girlfriend. This is the story of that wolf, and how he finally discovered a new way and new place to express himself…this is the story of Ashitaka’s most recent years:
Ashitaka was an ordinary wolf working an ordinary job, living paycheck to paycheck, fearing that the day would come that he would be unable pay his bills due to an unforeseen happenstance. Ashitaka had been working at a local gas station for quite some time, making a mere $11.00 an hour doing repetitive work as a cashier. Occasionally, he stepped in to help with management duties, but never really bothered trying to become anything more than a cashier. Ashitaka was very good at his job, but sometimes his temper would get the best of him, and he’d end up in a screaming match with a customer (sometimes over incredibly trivial matters). To be fair, many gas station customers are very rude, especially in Texas, which just so happened to be where Ashitaka worked. In spite of his temper, he really didn’t worry too much about losing his job. He had been with the company so long that he had acquired tenure and because of this, he was very difficult to fire.
The gas station Ashitaka worked at was actually very fancy, and quite large for a gas station. It featured 14 pumps, a car wash, and large selection of merchandise, and even a famous brand sandwich shop inside. Ashitaka was a very valuable employee. He knew this. He was trained to do nearly every task within the store…including the sandwich shop duties. That alone is a big part of what made Ashitaka so valuable to the company he worked for. In spite of all this “success” there’s was still a gaping hole left to be filled in Ashitaka’s heart, one he thought could be filled with a girlfriend. It had been a good while since the last one, though that was an experience he would rather forget, so we won’t go into it.
Interestingly enough, one day while at work, one of his regular customers, a beautiful young fox by the name of Terra gave his coworker a love note to give to him. Now, Ashitaka had no idea this fox was even interested. It should have been obvious, however, because every day she always made the effort to check out at his line, and always seemed a little bashful around him. Believe it or not, Ashitaka actually had his eye on the young fox, but was too shy to make a move. That being said until he received the note, it’s likely he would never have said anything, and missed a great opportunity. It was a few minutes after Terra left that Ashitaka read the not. When he did, he felt a rush of excitement he had never felt before. Someone he was interested in actually liked him too! He also thought it was a little wild that he could get a woman’s number without even trying, especially give his somewhat low self-esteem when it came to looks. The excitement overwhelmed him. He just didn’t know what to do. He thought to himself, “Should I call her?” “If I call today, I might seem desperate, but if I wait too long, I may lose the opportunity…” he pondered. After a few hours of thought, he finally broke down and asked his coworkers (most of which were his friends), to which all of them replied “CALL HER!” Ashitaka decided to sleep on it, even though at that point he knew what he should do, and perhaps give her a call the next day. After all, he was still worried that he might seem desperate if he called to soon, and he didn’t get off work ‘til 10 that night and he thought that might be too late. The next day on the way to work (in spite of the fact that using a cellphone while driving is dangerous) he gave Terra a call. She was absolutely ecstatic! She honestly believed that Ashitaka wouldn’t call.
Ashitaka, being somewhat cliché when it came to romance decided to set up a coffee date so they could get to know each other over a cup of coffee at the local coffee shop. I know what you’re thinking…they sell coffee at gas stations…does he consider that “the local coffee shop”? The answer to that is a resounding no. He most certainly knew better than that. When the time for the date finally came, Terra and Ashitaka chatted for several hours, nearly wearing out their welcome at the coffee shop. He was on cloud 9. It was almost love at first sight.
The unfortunate thing for Ashitaka was that this only filled a small part of the hole in his heart. Deep down, he was longing for more, he just didn’t know what. He decided that perhaps a change in job would help, so he decided to join the military. He signed up to be a linguist which may have a put a little strain on his relationship with Terra due to the extensive time required for training.
Almost a year passed by. Ashitaka’s studies were going well. He wasn’t able to choose the language he got to study, but through a stroke of good luck, he got one of the languages he really wanted to learn. Everything was seemingly all well and good, but there was still something missing. Perhaps the long distance relationship was too hard on him, perhaps there wasn’t enough social interaction, he didn’t know. Ashitaka feared too much social interaction would put him in a situation where his morals would be compromised and he might do the unthinkable and cheat on his long distance girlfriend Terra, so he tended to keep to himself, only hanging out with a handful of people he thought were safe. One of those turned out to be a great friend to Ashitaka. Someone Ashitaka felt he could count on to be there when he need him and vice versa. This tall, slender man named Kohroku would come to be Ashitaka’s best friend during his time in California (where he was training to be a linguist). Turns out, Ashitaka and Kohroku were the same age, and while they didn’t share the same religious beliefs (Ashitaka had none, and Kohroku belonged to a local church) they seemed to get along swimmingly. They had class together, and because of the friendship that had developed between the two always ate lunch together. The two were rarely apart during the duty day. Still, even with a good friend that was there when needed, a beautiful girlfriend, and a new career that seemed almost too good to be true, there was still a void left to be filled. You see, Ashitaka had abandoned many of his hobbies due to lack of interest or inspiration. He had some new ones, but while in training was unable to participate in them either because of cost or not having storage for a bicycle (cycling being one of his favorite hobbies).
One day, a few days ago as a matter of fact, Ashitaka made a discovery. There were interests he hadn’t really explored. He had always loved cartoons, anime, cosplay, photography, art, and music, but because he lost his inspiration for most of those things, he hadn’t done them in a very long time. That was, until he found a great group of talented writers, artists, and musicians that also happened to enjoy his latent hobbies. This inspired Ashitaka to draw, and even do a little creative writing (even if it was pretty much an autobiography told in the third person without using actual names). Ashitaka now seeks friends within that community to continue to fill the void (currently filled with inspiration after the discovery of this new community) and enjoy the company of a few friendly faces, even if they’re dressed in cosplay outfits. Turns out he actually loves the costumes.
So that’s the story of the last several years of Ashitaka’s life. We can only hope he can continue to fill the void in his heart, and enjoy the stunning community of people he recently discovered.
For now ;)