“With Alice, I found myself transformed.”
BY ROSE HANSEN | THE NEW TERRITORY ISSUE 03
Jon brought the fawn to me at the end of May, at dusk, while I was pulling weeds from my vegetable garden. She wobbled toward me on thin legs, pausing at my open palms just long enough to verify my strangeness, and then darted toward the woods. As if by miracle, Jon caught her. She didn’t fight him, not even as he gathered her legs beneath her body and slid her back inside her powder blue cat carrier. She never sounded a protest.
Jon didn’t steal the fawn. She was given to him by an agricultural realtor who had hit the mother after she rushed from the woods to cross the highway. The doe died while the fawn stood silent at the edge of a ditch and watched. At the time, he told Jon, “I looked at that little deer and I said, ‘I know just the lady for you!’”
Why I was chosen, I’ll never truly know. Looking back, I hope it’s because he recognized a goodness in me that I couldn’t see in myself then. I’d moved to the Ozarks a year earlier and found it bewildering as a foreign country. After years in Alaska, rural life was nothing new to me, but this place was different. My neighbors had incomprehensibly deep ties to the land and most women I met seemed too burdened by family or faith—neither of which I possessed—to forge friendships with a stranger. I’d found work writing but still felt worthless and lost, and so lonely that phone calls to friends back home undoubtedly carried the desperate air of a madwoman.
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