Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Bessie's Story

(continued from last post)

Holy Crap! I can’t believe he’s going to try this for me! I shouldn’t have said anything. I shouldn’t have said anything. I shouldn’t have said anything. One little request and he’s going into the bowl, just for me. Holy crap.

After the morning she’d had with Fred, Bessie wasn’t sure how to tell him what she wanted, but he kept pushing her to talk, to tell him what she needed right now. So she was pregnant. Big deal! Did he really think he’d be able to give her what she really needed? For him to just keep his big, fat mouth shut for a couple of hours? That certainly wasn’t going to happen. And if he and his loud mouth brought the wrath of the Giants on their heads, who KNOWS what would come of it. But he kept pushing to know what was going on, how the calf was doing, what he could get for her, so she’d said the first thing that popped into her head, “I would really love an apple right now.” Where did THAT come from? An apple? She didn’t even like apples! They’re horse food! She might as well be craving dog biscuits or Swiss rolls!

Pushing past Fred, hoping he’d drop this insane notion that he could retrieve a piece of fruit from the impossibly high, impossibly smooth-sided bowl, Bessie made to leave. She stopped when Fred spoke, far too loudly in the quiet kitchen, and she shushed him. He stood demanding that she help him – help him! – in his scheme to procure fruit. This was doomed to failure. He was making her nervous, going through with this, continually talking, when they both knew noise was their enemy here. But she obliged and put out her hoof to boost Fred up the side of the bowl when he asked.

Bessie grunted as Fred shifted his weight, which was considerable, to her aching back. The calf was due any day and her poor back was already a mess, with the heavy uterus weighing her down, gravity straining everything. I wish he were just up there already! Oh! What will I do when he brings one down? Crap. I can’t eat an apple. I’d pull the old I-don’t-want-it-anymore routine, but I know he’ll be furious if I don’t eat it after all of this. Crap.

Looking up she saw Fred attempt a little jig on the side of the bowl. What on earth? What was he doing? She noticed, in the dim light from the light of the kitchen stove clock, that there were tiny fissures running the length and width of Fred’s side. Foolish bull! Then Bessie felt an involuntary shudder, and watched as Fred tumbled from the rim, doing somersaults. If he weren’t about to shatter into a million pieces, Bessie might have enjoyed the graceful fall. There was no way that he was going to make it out alive. Crap. Where would that leave her? A single momma cow, clueless about this kitchen. This was NOT good.

Fred hit with a crash, pieces of him flying everywhere. If he had been plastic, this wouldn’t have happened. He would have been more flexible, for one thing. Then it hit Bessie like a ton of bricks. Fred really WAS hurt. And she was there, staring at his broken hide, looking into his eyes, seeing the shock and pain. Fred, who never hurt, who was always tough, who kept it together at all costs. Fred had a huge hole in his side and the pieces were everywhere! CRAP!

It seemed like forever that she stood staring at Fred, at the gaping wound in his side, wishing she were elsewhere, wishing she’d kept her mouth shut, wishing he’d been less of a jerk, or less thoughtful, wishing the ground would open and swallow her whole. She heard a raspy bark from Fred and realized that he was yelling at her, weak as he sounded. Something about glue. Oh! First aid! She should help! Of course!

Turning toward the counter edge, Bessie hurried as fast as she could, fighting the suction of the jam from the Giant children’s lunch making. They were such messy calves, always leaving giant crumbs and jam slicks, which were difficult to wade through on a good day. The crumbs, she’d be the first to admit, were wonderfully delicious, being whole grain and toasted. But the jam … she was angry now. If the Giant children’s jam caused Fred to die before she could get back … but no, she wasn’t going to think about Fred dying.

Bessie turned to maneuver herself over the side of the counter, using some techniques which she and Fred had perfected while exploring the house. When she’d reached the bottom, she knew that the only thing to fear was the giant cat who sometimes roamed freely, that he was more playful at night and more likely to bat her into a wall and do some serious damage. One day they’d have to bell that stupid cat. But Bessie kept moving, working her way toward the laundry room where they’d found a tube of Super Glue in one of their travels.

While dodging dining room chairs, Bessie thought about how far she’d come since she’d met Fred. She was such a wuss in those days, afraid of her own shadow. Sure, she was still a pretty nervous Nellie, but not nearly as fearful as she once was. Fred had taught her to live life to the fullest, to take opportunities as they came, to jump in with both hooves, consequences be damned. Alright, so she was still the one who thought through the consequences when they were on the brink of some new danger or adventure, but the point was that she was more willing! More daring than she’d ever been!

So why did Fred still treat her as though she was a little calf, a damsel in distress, in need of rescue? And why did he always address her with that underlying scorn, reproach? So she was cautious still! Thank the good Lord above that someone was, or they’d have both been dead many times over!

Bessie’s thoughts grew more heated as she made her way up the shelves in the laundry room, located the glue and made her way back to the counter. She half expected Fred to be dead, given the stress fissures before the fall and the size of the hole, not to mention the force of the impact. Tackling the route up the cabinets, Bessie resolved to be brave, regardless of what met her at the top, to repair the damage as best she could. She began to focus on where she remembered seeing the pieces and the best way to reassemble everything for the most efficient repair. The sight that met her eyes at the top stopped her in her tracks.

It was just Fred. Just Fred. Everything came back to her – the day he found her, terrified and on the verge of certain death, unable to save herself. One of the horrid Giant children had set her teetering on the edge of the counter, then the red headed Giant had called the calf away and Bessie had been stranded, left for dead. Fred had come along just then and grabbed her tail in his mouth, pulling her to safety. It was all over for her, love at first sight. But that was because his mouth had been full and she didn’t know of what he was capable. That wasn’t exactly fair. Fred won her heart with his romantic talk, quoting poetry and singing to her. His words were what cemented it for her. The thing she loved most about him. And here he was, lying helplessly, side broken open, just staring at her.

Strengthened in her resolve, Bessie set to work on the plan she’d worked through, pulling everything together. It took longer than she’d hoped, but Fred’s gaze kept her going. She finally finished up and, exhausted, dropped the glue bottle. She didn’t care anymore what the Giants thought of the glue being out. Hell, Fred had cracks all over his body that weren’t there earlier in the day. Let them think what they wanted. She was done. Spent. And she needed time to think.

As she leaned against the cool, creamy butter (her favorite resting place), Bessie felt slight tremors run through her middle. Frightened, she jumped and gasped. Maybe the adrenaline rush produced this reaction? There it was again! Bessie looked to Fred, only to find his eyes closed and mouth slightly open in a snore. He’d had a rough time of it, poor thing and the … oh! There it was again! This time there was a pain accompanying the shaking, grabbing her middle in giant pinchers and shaking her, it seemed. How horrible this new sensation! Bessie considered waking Fred, but the feeling subsided. She closed her eyes and leaned into the butter again, wanting sleep to swallow her whole and never release her.

Again with the pain and shaking belly! It was all Bessie could do this time to stand upright and remain calm. Should she wake Fred? This was disconcerting, this sudden pain, followed by its disappearance. There … there, it was gone again. No, she’d let Fred sleep and just be patient each time a wave came. No need to bother him, especially in his current condition. There was nothing he could do anyway.

(to be continued ...)

1 comment:

imbeingheldhostage said...

I am enjoying this so much! I love how we flipped over to Bessie's view from the previous story. You are clever!