Once long ago I began a story that remains unfinished about a deer that steps out of a wood:
Always hunted by men, she ignored them mostly or shied away in fear. But then one day a young man offered her water from his cupped hands. He then turned away, wanting nothing in return. She followed him on his journey, growing ever closer, until one night as he lay shivering next to a dying fire, she curled beside him. Together they kept each other warm through the night. In the morning, she remained.
Together they walked the same path for many miles and then for many years. She saw him fall in and out of love. She saw him raise children and send them on their way. She saw him smile, curse, cry.
She was the shadow at his side and the warmth against which he curled in the wee hours of morning. “Are you mine?” he would sometimes whisper in her ear. “I think not,” he would answer in the silence. “I think not. But I do hope.”