Friday, April 4, 2008

Something Happens

(Continued from last post)

What is he doing?! Why is he here, next to me? Does he have any idea what kid of damage has been done to him, how much he’s doing right now, just standing? Argh!

She stared at Fred long and hard, puzzled as to how to make him understand what was happening in her, as she didn’t fully know herself. Puzzled as to how to make him lie back down, minimize the hurt to himself. What WAS he thinking? He was in far worse shape than she. Didn’t he understand that? Stupid, stupid bull. And as for the butter … it certainly did make her feel better.

Another pain! This time it seemed to have purpose, to be more concentrated, low and central in her belly. About where the calf would be. About where the calf would be! If she weren’t in so much pain, Bessie though she might do a jig of her own. The calf was coming! What now? What now?! A soft place to birth the calf … the butter! Of course! What better place! Think, think, think. It shouldn’t be long now, as targeted and hard as the pains were. The pain subsided again, but she thought that the next one might be the last. She needed to get up onto the butter dish before … before what?

“Fred? Fred, I think the calf will be here soon. Fred? Did you hear me?” He looked stunned, poor thing. She had nearly forgotten what he’d been through this evening. How was she going to care for Fred and her calf at the same time? Oh pie! I wonder if I can slow this down? Fred needs to lie down before he hurts himself. I can’t repair him if something happens now.

“Bessie? Did you say that the calf is coming?” His words came slowly, seemingly from far away. She could see shock begin to set in as the events of the evening caught up with him. The chalky white of his features was apparent even in the dim light. She had to do something before the next wave hit.

“Fred,” as she sidled up next to him, “why don’t you just lie down right here. I can handle this by myself. It’s the most natural thing in the world. But I can’t do it well if I have to worry about you. Lie down. Please. There … thank you. You just close your eyes and be still so I don’t worry about you, okay? It’s the best thing you can do right … mooo!”

Before she could get onto the butter plate, the next pain struck with a vengeance, bolting her to the spot. She felt an urgent need to squeeze, to clamp down with her stomach muscles and push hard, so she did … and did, and did, for what seemed forever. At first she thought nothing was happening, but the urge to push wouldn’t let up, so she kept clamping down. Then, slowly, she felt it – the calf beginning to crown and make its way out. Hoorah! Just a little more … there! And she felt it drop to the counter, where a soft *thunk* was heard. She’d done it.

Turning to look below her, Bessie saw the softest, stickiest little black and white mess ever. It put the jam slick to shame for its stickiness. But its big brown eyes looked up at her with a sweetness which melted her heart. She reached with her tongue to clean it, marveling at the cool, porcelain hide beneath the mucus, and found that she’d had a son. A little bull. As she cleaned, she paid attention to his features, his markings. He was beautiful. Bessie watched as he struggled to his feet to suckle, feeling the warm rush of milk release for the first time. What bliss! A bull calf! And he looked so much like Fred.

Fred! Bessie turned to see Fred staring as though his eyes would pop out of his head. He was struggling to rise again, so she shushed him, telling him to be still. He didn’t have it in him to rebel, so she watched him settle, turning back to her calf. Then turned back to Fred. “Fred? It’s a bull. A bull! And he looks like you! What shall we name him? Fred?” She paled as she realized that Fred had gone completely white and his breathing was shallow and strained. Dang that bull! She’d told him to lie down and stay put the first time. There was no way she could move right now.

(to be continued)

1 comment:

Lori said...

I had no idea!
Way to go, Bessie!