Lindsey and Nick left on a jet plane bound for Mammoth. Lindsey went home to her mom filled with stories, pictures and new friends. Nick on the other hand went home to his dad filled with anger, accusations and angst. Endings are never easy and this one was particularly hard. Nick who had chosen, begged to come and live on our farm to have a fresh start, was miserable now and felt it was time to go home. All things considered, I finally, reluctantly agreed. Lines had been crossed, things had been said, so I wished Nick luck and told him I hoped he would find what he was looking for.
“It’s all good,” he said and slipped away behind security while Lindsey stood waving goodbye.
After they left, the farm was unusually quiet. Nick’s sudden departure was traumatic. Henry was sullen and broken-hearted. It was back to just Henry and me and of course forty-six animals – give or take. Not much consolation when you feel as though you lost a kind of brother. All week Henry’s teachers and coach were asking if everything was all right at home. It wasn’t.
The week dragged on, Henry continued to work out at the gym, his state meet looming near, but it was easy to see he found it hard to concentrate. On a bright note, our new tenants, Joe and Katie moved in with their dog, Rugby. But nothing seemed to ease the pain of Nick’s departure.
Mike drove up for a visit from Tacoma. We hadn’t seen him in a while and he thought he’d come see Henry for moral support and my dad drove out too just to fill the place with a little joie de vive. Tom called constantly, worried about Henry’s recent regression. We both knew Henry didn’t handle loss well, ever since his best friend, Harry, died.
“Mom?” Henry said with a pitchfork in his hand. “There’s a trailer pulling up to the gate, should I go open it?”
“Yeah, that’d be a good idea, it’s Susie and her husband” I said with a sneaky smile.
“Susie? Doe she have Petite?” Henry asked wide-eyed, excitement spreading across his face.
I said as Henry went running off.
“Yep,” I said as Henry went running off.
something else isn’t there?” Mike said assessing my demeanor.
“There’s something else isn’t there?” Mike said assessing my demeanor.
“You know me too well,” I admitted. I’m always in a good mood when Mike’s cleaning the barn. He takes off his squeaky white sneakers and puts on the farm boots Tom and I selfishly got him a couple of Christmas’s ago. Then pens in his breast pocket, he sets to work in his farm ensemble: worn khakis, short-sleeve button down, brown leather belt. Mike can’t stand an untidy barn. This by the way, has absolutely nothing to do with the conditions of the animal pens. Rather Mike can’t take the gestalt of the barn feeling unkempt. He likes the middle swept and the rakes hung in their proper locations. Hay bales should be stacked and water buckets arranged so as to be out of walk ways. “What can I say, some people buy strappy sandals in times of emotional crisis, I buy endangered farm animals,” I grinned.
“You’ve about collected the whole colonial set,” he teased.
“I’m still missing the pigs,” I reminded him.
walked out the barn doors and waved to Susie and her husband as they made their
way down toward the pasture. Henry was running behind them trailed nimbly by Bruno who was leaping and darting here and there. Everyone was bursting with
We walked out the barn doors and waved to Susie and her husband as they made their way down toward the pasture. Henry was running behind them trailed nimbly by Bruno who was leaping and darting here and there. Everyone was bursting with excitement.
I opened the gates the gates to the pasture and Susie raised an eyebrow in my direction. “Should we unload?” She asked.
“Is that Lucky? I remember her!” Henry called. “We got two?”
“Lucky is Petite’s daughter, Gnatalie’s aunt, Gnatalie’s mother Ladybug and Lucky are sisters.” I explained trying to appear rational, “Susie and I thought it would be a good idea to keep the family together”.
“Do you think they’ll remember each other?” Henry turned to Susie.
It’s amazing what cows remember,” she laughed. “Sometimes you wish they’d
forget things. The truth is, I had two cows, sisters, that were separated for
more than a year and when they were put in a pasture of cows, they found each
other in minutes and were inseparable. All my cows hang-out in family groups.”
“Absolutely. It’s amazing what cows remember,” she laughed. “Sometimes you wish they’d forget things. The truth is, I had two cows, sisters, that were separated for more than a year and when they were put in a pasture of cows, they found each other in minutes and were inseparable. All my cows hang-out in family groups.”
We brought Petite in first and then Lucky. Gnatalie began to lick and snuggle them immediately. The boys, Abe and Andy were not so happy. They began hollering and moo-oooing loudly.
“I suppose this is what they mean by having a cow” I surmised.
“Do you think they’ll hurt them?” Henry worried.
“Nahhh, they’re boys and these are girls. Everyone should be fine in just a little while. Do you want me to let them go?” Susie asked. Mike not a lover of bovine, meandered back with his pitchfork in hand toward the barn. He had work to do.
“Sure, I’d rather you were here for this anyway. Just in case. I’m big on just in case”. Susie untied the girls and off they went. Cows gone wild. Petite, Lucky and Gnatalie took off with Abe and Andy in pursuit. They ran and kicked up their heels checking out every corner of the pasture.
“Today Gnatalie’s a happy girl Mama,” Henry murmured perched on the weathered cedar fence. “Rat-Bat Nooooo!” He yelled as I saw that darn dog race toward the herd of cattle. “He could get killed!”
We screamed “Bruno! Rattie! Rat-Bat! Get over here! Come!” And luckily he is fairly obedient or he realized he was about to have a near death experience so he came trotting back. Henry ran over and scooped him up just to be safe. The excitement over, we relaxed a little and chatted with Susie about her cattle rustlers and the legal battle about getting them back her cows.
“If you need us for the round-up, Henry and I will be there,” I offered.
“I just might take you up on that,” she winked driving away with her husband.
After they left we went back to cleaning the barn and finishing the chores of the day. We made chili, watched and watched the Olympics with my dad and Mike. As Henry was going to sleep surrounded by dogs and cats of all colors and sizes, he asked me,
“Mama? Do you think Nick is sad? Do you think he will miss me?”
“No,” I said honestly, “I think he won’t at first Honey. Right now, Nick is in his own sad world. He’s thinking only about himself. He’s unhappy with himself, but one day. Yes. He will miss you and realize how much you love him and how much we all love him and then maybe he’ll regret how things ended”, I said wiping away his tears. “But until then, you have Quinn and Phoebe and all of us and Lindsey and Awesomez and we all love you, and I know it’s not the same,” I said softly.
“I don’t even know why I love him so much,” Henry said. “
“My mom asked me a long time ago, what I thought love was. I remember we were driving down Mulholland. I told her I thought she was being completely ridiculous. Everyone knows what love is I mean c’mon. Now I realize what a complicated question it was. One thing I know for sure. Love never ends”.
“You know, it makes me think of Harry. Losing him. Every time I get close to someone they leave,” he said his eyes filling again with tears. I didn’t know what to say, how to comfort him. I knew this was bringing back so many painful memories. I simply hugged him tight. “Mama, do you think cows feel a kind of love? I mean they search the herds for their families.”
“I do. Now it’s late. Good Night John-Boy,”
“Good-Night, and Mama?”
“Lucky, might just be lucky,her ear tag is 13” he said sleepily.
“We could use some luck. You know, there was a time when my friends said if it weren’t for bad luck I’d have no luck at all,” I smirked.
“Then what happened?”
“I had you”.