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Sick to my stomach from berries and leaves, I ventured to a stream not large enough to carry me away in the current, but big enough to have copious amounts of fish. While splashing around in the icy water, attempting to grab a slippery fish, I was suddenly startled by a loud gasp. The noise caused me to jerk my head in its direction. A middle aged man, (hu-man, not gorilla-man), stood gaping at me on the bank. Fully clothed, he held a wooden chair in one hand, a fishing pole rod in the other. Not knowing how to react to a sighting, and tired of being alone, my little body remained where it was, the water lapping up my bare waist. At this point I should mention that pre-pubescent Gorilla-men are not as hairy as a fully gown one. For the most part I could have passed for a hairier-than-normal, dirty human child from a distance. However, at the distance this man was, there was no doubt my prominent brow and abnormally shaped muscles were noted.

A few minutes passed before I broke my parents’ second rule: Do not ever speak to a human. I called out to him. The first rule obviously being to remain unseen. A rule I had clearly already broken.

Here I stress the importance of our similar functions. We are able to speak. Our voices come out growly and throaty, but I assure you I can speak English. My parents also spoke a native Canadian tongue, of which I don’t know a single word. It wasn’t always this way, but the world has changed a great deal in a small amount of time. I could not tell you how my ancestors learned languages, all I know is this is how my parents spoke. I merely followed. If I remember correctly, the first thing I said was “Go-od d-ay.” The bearded man placed the chair gently on the dirt, laid the fishing pole beside the chair, then held out his hands in front of him, as if to stop something charging towards him. Slowly he crept closer to the water’s edge. “Are you ooo-kay?” he asked me.

From that moment on, until the day he died, I had a friend. I have no intention of betraying this man’s identity. That is his own. But for sake of the reader, I will call him Phil. Phil’s father had built a cabin deep in the woods when he was young. No one had lived in it for years, so Phil had used it to store his fishing gear. Only visiting on the rare occasions he was able to fish. In that cabin was where he taught me fluent English, and how to read. Writing wasn’t something that was possible with my dexterity, but in our own unique, and sometimes funny way, we bonded. From teacher to pupil, father to son, friend to friend. Can I tell you how much easier it is to catch a fish with a fishing pole, even without proper hand strength?