I always considered myself lucky. I never took our blessings for granted. I was aware of the difference between our lives and theirs. If you don’t have someone to compare yourself to, how could you possibly know whether your life is good or bad? You need to see the ugly to learn to recognize the beauty around you.
We never saw them though. They were too far for us to catch a glimpse of them. But we could feel their presence and sadness even if two fences, a vast green land and a wall of bricks and wood separated us. We knew we were the same. By nature anyway. I often wondered if they could see us through the cracks in the wall that isolated them from the rest of the world. Unlike them, we were spending most of our time in the sunlight, in the open air, which potentially made it possible for them to spot us. But we didn’t know if they could. Often, we talked about them. We tried to imagine what their lives were like, what they ate, drank, how many of them were closed in that facility that resembled ours from the outside.
We on the other hand, lacked nothing really. There was always plenty of grass to eat, fresh water, and a comfortable shelter from the rain and cold. We were left free to move around the field and socialize as much as we wanted during the day, but as we heard, my sister, being female, would soon be able to bring the young ones to this world, just like our mother did with the two of us. This change would certainly add some responsibility to her daily schedule.
I didn’t know our age, but we must have been pretty young because we still remembered the day our mother disappeared. It was the first time we tasted grass, because there was no milk anymore. Nobody could tell us where the mother went. All the other cows, as the owners referred to us, were as young as we were and didn’t know much about the world either. Despite my worry for my sister and fear that she might disappear after one day giving birth, our days were spent in peace, enjoying the view of the horizon in the distance, blending the endless blue with the green that was too far for us to ever reach. The humans treated us well most of the time. Sometimes they would kick or hit with a stick those who protested against re-entering the barn at evenings. I wasn’t one of them. I never minded separating the day from night by transitioning from open fields to closed doors. It gave me something to look forward to every night. Before my eyelids closed, I could feel the aroma of the next morning’s fresh dew-drenched grass waiting for us outside. It helped me sleep better.
One morning, that could have, and should have, been just like any other day, everything changed. There was no warning, no signs, no reason. The humans, whom I regarded with much respect, revealed their true intentions that day, but we realized this too late.
When the first timid sun rays alerted everyone of the new day, we were ushered out of the barn but were not left alone to enjoy the fresh grass. The fence was open and behind it stood a strange box on wheels, somewhat similar to what owners used to distance themselves from the home on certain days and then return later. It gave them great speed. But this one was much bigger. Its doors opened and humans abruptly separated five of us from the rest, all males now that I remember it, and showed us out of the fenced field and into the cold box. It all happened too fast, none of us had the time to think about what was going on. I only heard the cries of the other four around me and of those that remained in the field that was now, somehow, moving away from us. I recognized my sister’s cry, but I wasn’t sure she could hear me calling her. We were already too far, and my voice got lost in the weeps of others beside me. Only later I realized that it was us who were moving and disappearing in the distance while standing in this strange box. The home remained where it was, even though it appeared differently in that moment.
What followed once we stopped is not something I want to recount. And you probably don’t want to hear about it either. My soul has chosen to remove it from my consciousness so I could once again find peace. And I have. I just wish I found my mom here. But maybe her destiny was different than mine after all.
I’ve got to go now, my sister is coming, I hear. I don’t want her to go through this alone like I did. I hope her spirit will recognize me, because there is nothing to see here.