Cow Run

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I used to hide in the cow shed when I was eight. Every summer when my father’s side of the family gathered at my grandparents house, us kids would play a massive game of hide and seek. My cousin and I would always stick together, as a team-and consequently win because of our wild hiding spots.

It was always with great fear of being kicked, that I hid with Thinley in the tin cow shed. We would hide right beside Dema, the tan cow that belonged to my older sister. I used to cringe while I crouched beside him, hiding my nose within the crook of my elbow as the fume of the cow manure attacked my nostrils. Instead I focused on inhaling the soft scent of steamed flour and dried chillies that my cousin always smelt of, mixed in with dry hay and oats. He would occasionally order me to stop complaining about the smell or how my leg was cramping from squatting in one position for so long, making me scrunch my nose in anger. In short I hated the cow and the tin shed in the backyard.

My hate for the cow grew to pure detest when I was nine years old. At the time my cousin had just returned from a trip to Thailand and was itching for adventure, after being stuck on tours and hotel rooms. Thinley was adamant that I tag along with him on his wild adventures which included army training, where he would make my cousins, sisters and me march around the building’s perimeter crying out, “Left foot, right foot, left foot...” until our voices were hoarse. After hours of military training my grandmother’s caretaker, a teenage girl, would call to us ordering us to clean up and get ready for the next meal.

However one day, instead of calling to us, the caretaker walked out of my grandparents’ apartment mumbling under her breath, her hand holding a coiled piece of rope.

“Gache bay?” (What happened?) My cousin asked jogging curiously up to Tashidem. “Thap gache bay go?” (Why do you need the rope?)

The caretaker flipped her hair back and snapped angrily, “ane zandi su gi bah tang zha nu.” (The neighbor’s brats let the cow go)...I saw my cousin’s grin grow as a sense of dread began to fill me.

“Nga che whonda ga?” (Can we come?) He asked excitedly bouncing up and down.
After a moment of thought Tashidem sighed. “Tup, debah gache nache bay wa chin gna mein may.” (Fine but if you guys get hurt its not my fault). So after quickly ushering the younger cousins back up the stairs, promising candy, my cousin Tashidem and I set out to find the missing cow.

It was not hard to miss the giant cow, who was heavily pregnant. She was by the side of an old road munching happily on a bush of naturally growing marijuana. My cousin snickered at the sight and threw a pebble towards her making the cow snort in annoyance. The caretaker whacked my cousin on his arm and ordered us to be quiet, she did not want to spook the cow. Her plan was to grab the cow by the neck and tackle the rope on, thereby leading it back to the shed. It was however short lived as a large Indian Tipper truck blared by, turning sharply on the curb. It instantly blared its horn making the cow jump to the side in surprise, long after the truck had gone we could still hear its distant rumbling.

The caretaker cursed loudly and picked up her Kira, a long skirt like uniform, by the hem and began to approach the startled cow that was kicking at the ground in distress, which should have been warning enough. The cow was getting ready to charge. The caretaker backed away a moment to soon and yelled at us.

“Ju,ju!” (Run, run!) As she back tracked and whipped by us, the cow in tow. My heart immediately began to thump faster until I was sure it was about to explode from my chest. Being the shortest I fell to the back while my cousin and care taker ran quickly in front of me, panting heavily, my cousin smirking the whole way down the rough road.

After a minute of running my legs were getting weak and I could feel the bile rising up in my throat, I desperately wanted to stop but I knew that the cow was right behind me. I could hear her hooves stomping on the stones below her, thudding behind me like a monstrous beast. It was then that I realized I was the only one on the road, running breathlessly. My cousin and the caretaker had both disappeared, with another push I moved forward gaining distance.It wouldn’t be long before the cow caught up to me now. It was when I thought that I was done, for that I was abruptly tugged on. Thinking that it was the cow I closed my eyes and waited...but felt nothing.

My cousin had yanked me by the shirt and pushed me against the stone wall lining the road near the large, open water drain. I yelped when I began to tumble backwards into the water but was swiftly steadied.

“Kehme?” (Are you alright?)

I nodded my head, my eyes beginning to water. Instantaneously I began to weep as the rush of adrenaline ebbed away. My hands were shaking and I was breathing heavily, the only thing that held me up was my cousin’s tight grasp on my arm as he towed me back to my grandparents house.

I promptly collapsed on the old futon and awoke to worried faces of my other cousins, their faces shadowed by the adult’s that were milling about. The first thing I heard was my grandmother’s shrill voice.

“Lonsunu, hane da...” (She’s awake thats always good) she stated obviously. “Bah di ya louk yi.” (And the cows back) she added as an after thought as if that was all that mattered. And I suppose that was all that mattered, to her anyways.





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