In Seattle I found friendship with a man who needed help getting on his feet.  We met at Pike’s Place Market on a Saturday while I was there with a friend of mine from out of town.  If you make friends with someone who is always hungry, you need to have a good supply of food.  I never got around to testing our friendship to see if it could weather a time where I was not providing some sort of support for this man.  I moved to Albania in April and have lost contact with roughly ninety percent of my contacts there.  Since arriving here, I have found friendship with a pack of dogs.  There is also a boy name Roars who follows me down the street from time to time.

The dogs are true and fond of me.  They will follow me whether there is food involved or not, sometimes to their own peril.  I have passed through the territory of other packs of dogs while my pack was still in-tow.  No blood was shed, but there have been other times when these little friends of mine have come close to meeting a Mercedes making quick a distance along the winding road which takes me home.  While scratching the sagittal crest of one of the females the other day, I realized that I may be the only human to ever make contact with her out of kindness.  I’ve seen one of the men who lives in a house near to where my pack congregates kick one of the dogs in a manner meant to injure or kill it.  These dogs are unaccustomed to kindness.

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I am doubting Roars’ friendship for me since our last encounter.  While on the road, if I have two apples I will give one to Roars.  If I have two nectarines, he may as well have one and I have been good about sharing what I have.  A few days ago, however, he asked me for money.  I wasn’t entirely sure what he was saying, so in the interest of ending the conversation I said “Ndoshta pas naser,” which means “Maybe the day after tomorrow.”  He followed up with me two days later, asking where his money was.  “Money for what?”  I asked.  “For school,” he replied.  “I don’t have money for you.”  I told him.  And then yesterday he asked me for money again.

A friend of my father’s tells a story of an excursion he took one time as a youth with his Boy Scout Troop.  In Yellowstone National Park his friends and he witnessed a man feeding Oreo Cookies to a black bear.  As soon as the cookies were gone the bear mauled the man and left him severely bloodied.  “The moral of the story is…when you’re feeding Oreo Cookies to a black bear…don’t run out.”  I am out of Oreo Cookies, and a part of me wonders if I’m about to get mauled.

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