A Local Encounter

by Serena Sun (Canada)

Making a local connection Chile

He wandered the streets at night, searching for a meal to satisfy the pleas of his empty stomach. Enticing smells from local restaurants were swept by the wind, and carried to him. He lifted his nose to the sky, and enjoyed the sense of comfort that the mix of scents brought him. He was a city local; nobody knew the lonely streets better than he. He didn’t have a family, and oftentimes wandered the streets of his world alone. Occasionally, he’d come across another wanderer, like him. Some days they would merely cross paths, and on other days, they would travel together. He had no preference, however, for he knew that any partner he found would only be a temporary companion. People oftentimes walked by him with inviting plates of food in hand, and he would want nothing more than to have a nibble. He didn’t care for their money, or their pity. All he wanted was a satisfying taste of a meal, no matter how small the portion. One night, he wandered by a restaurant that was open later than the rest. Clusters of people lined the outdoor patio with drinks in hand, their voices competing with one another, and the music that boomed from inside. As he approached the patio, people paid little attention to him. He cautiously made his way up the steps and claimed a patch of the patio to lay himself down. His eyes shifted from one group to the next, looking for any care in their eyes. He found none. After a while of sitting around, he decided it was time to approach someone. Maybe they could offer him some food, or company. It was getting late, and people had been drinking for a while now. Tonight, he craved some interaction. He scanned the patio once again, and his eyes landed on a girl. She was tall, leaned up against the railing with a phone resting in her palm. A guy was talking to her, but she didn’t seem to care much for his slurred words. This was his chance. He slowly left his resting space and approached her. He looked up at me, and our eyes met. His fur was ruffled, with patches of bunched-up hairs throughout his frame. I reached my hand out to pat his head, and smiled when he delighted at the contact. I’d only been in the area for a few weeks and was eager to make local friends. The crowd at the bar seemed to have drunk a little too much for a Wednesday, and I couldn’t hold a conversation with anyone. I looked down at the brown eyes that stared back at me, and I couldn’t help but laugh. There I was, connecting with a true local, a citizen of the streets.