Life with Moe by Ofek Ravid, Israel

It was one of my days off on a sunny Sunday morning when I first met him. To be honest, I was not expecting to meet Moe that day. I was off to the big town of Sonora, a town of thousands  of individuals living in the mountains of central California. I was going to see a film in the “big town”, something that in a less rural place would not count as anything bigger than a village. I came to Sonora from Camp Tawonga, a magical summer camp in the Stanislaus National Forest where I was working as a youth counselor that summer. I entered the secondhand store, not knowing what to expect. It was a medium sized room, at least in American standards, maybe 25 by 25 feet. I strolled between the different accessories and secondhand clothes, random tchotchkes and tools for the house. It smelled of dust, and aging plastic pieces. Then I saw him. Straddled within an old cart, along with many other abandoned souls. He was pointed at me with his antlers facing upside down, his small malformed hands just reaching out for me to pick him up. It said on his head he was from Alaska(probably china in reality), and his beady black eyes were just staring into space. I knew he was going to be my new companion. I called him Moses, and for $1.50 I personally had saved him from a lifetime of boredom, and he had changed my life for a short period. I decided to call him Moses, for I envisioned him a great leader. He was very fluffy, and had a beautiful scarf. That same day we road back to camp, and he had found a new home in my bunk bed, within a rustic wooden cabin shared with a co-counselor ten 12-year-old children. 15055749_10153873004596761_4861543402867301516_n We went everywhere together. He had one of the best summers of his life. He lived at the bunk in summer camp, and would frequently visit the majestic Tuolumne river. He sat on the sidelines while watching me swim. I always feared his fur would get wet.The children loved him and occasionally asked to wrap their arms around him and speak to him, a silent, compassionate companion. He added a safe space for them, and also for me as well. We went out in San Francisco together to admire the skyline ,but most of the time we spent on voyages. Moses went with me to Canada, where we went hiking to really beautiful skylines, and enjoyed the magical lakes of British Columbia. We walked through the mountains of Squamish, admiring Elfin lakes, swimming together in the cold waters. He traveled with me to the Klammath River in Oregon, where we studied medicine in the Wilderness, and he ate wonderful donuts with me in Portland. I enjoyed the fact that I could hug him whenever I wanted, and that people would always laugh at the sight of him, and ask to take a picture with him some even wanted to pet him or hug him. He was pure joy. Moses flew with me to Jamaica on the 15th of September, 2014. He was in my life for nearly two months at this point. In the whole mumble and jumble of being in the airport (after a 5 hour redeye flight), with millions of taxi drivers jumping at me from every direction, and people asking you to let them tour you, I jumped on a jitney taxi from Montego Bay Airport to the city. It was me, my friend Eyal, and the driver. After leaving the taxi, I soon noticed Moses was not with me. I turned over my backpack, emptied it, but no luck. I did this twice, each time hoping to see a bit of the furry little fellow. It took a hard toll on me as I quickly realized this good friend, had left my life. A feeling of anger and helplessness came upon me. Queasiness followed soon, lasting a few minutes. I let it sink in, as I knew that was the best thing I could do, and continued my travels. I still hope one day to create a campaign in Jamaica to return Moses to me. New adventures will never be the same without you, Moses!

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