The light brown calf and I were just a few steps into our journey when his nose bumped into my left shoulder for the fifth time. I turned around and held his jaws in both my hands, and we stood face to face. His pale blue eyes were clouded in gray like two shiny marbles. Oatmeal was blind.
I hadn’t thought about his eyesight since he found his way to me just fine. I took the end of the rope that rested on his back and wrapped it around my left arm, giving enough space between us while also letting him know where I was. In my right hand was the suitcase no one ever knew I had.
We walked for miles. I’m not sure who was leading who. We were just walking, and we would have walked on forever if Oatmeal didn’t tug the rope and nearly throw me into the dirt. A dark wooden fence stood in front of what looked like a forest. The open grass land and trees were all I could see. Oatmeal’s nose nudged the lock on the gate, and then he turned and stared at me. I stared back, and for a second, I forgot he was blind again. “I don’t know what you want me to do.”
The trees rustled, and my neck nearly snapped off my head when I turned, but Oatmeal was calm, and he let out a loud exhale that blew air on my shoulder. A girl with long black hair came running out of the trees as she shouted in a high pitched voice. “Oatmeal!”
She opened the gate so fast, I wondered if it was even locked to begin with, and her arms locked around the calf’s neck as she buried her face in it. I dropped the rope lead and laid a hand on his back and took a step backward. The girl let go but left her hand on Oatmeal’s nose and looked up at me with shining brown eyes, standing just a few inches shorter than me.
Oatmeal gave another loud exhale and nudged my arm with his nose. “Yeah, why don’t you come inside with us,” the girl suggested. She looked down at the suitcase still in my hand, balanced on its wheels behind me. “Surely you need some rest.”
Oatmeal and the girl both gave me the same expectant look, and I succumbed and followed the girl and Oatmeal through the trees and to the barn behind the one story peach brick house. “Do your parents know you’re inviting a stranger over?”
The girl held the barn door open for me, and I walked in and immediately took a seat on the cube of hay that sat on another bale with the calf in front of me and the girl next to him. The girl shrugged.
“You look like you could be in my class.”
“How old are you?”
“Thirteen.” Figures. I nodded and stared at the dirt that scattered the floor of the barn. “How’d you know where to bring him?” She put a hand on Oatmeal’s shoulder.
I shrugged. “I didn’t.” I looked up at the calf. “But he did.”
The girl patted Oatmeal’s shoulder. “Where’d you find him?”
I put a hand out and touched the calf’s nose. “He found me.” I petted him as I looked to the girl. “I know his name. What’s yours?”
“Leila. Okay, Daisy, tell me about Oatmeal.”
“Only if you tell me about that suitcase.” Daisy pointed at the suitcase that laid down next to the bales of hay I sat on.
“I deserve his back story for bringing him back.”
“I deserve to know about your suitcase if you’re staying in my barn.”
I looked to the girl whose eyes held their own adamance. “Fine.” I nodded. “But first, Oatmeal.” I leaned back against the wooden wall and crossed my arms as Oatmeal began chomping on the corner of my hay chair.
“My parents wanted me to take Oatmeal to the stock show.” She stood next to Oatmeal and leaned into his shoulder, and he held his ground. Daisy’s eyes moved down to my suitcase.
I took a deep breath. “That suitcase is always packed. Because you never know.” I scooted myself up on the bale of hay and put a hand on Oatmeal’s nose. “You know what happens at stock shows, but you took him anyway.”
“I figure if I just didn’t brush his hair and do the works, just let him sit in his pen, we’d go out and the judges would see that. We wouldn’t win, and we’d go home and call it a day. And Mom and Dad would be happy knowing I tried. As far as they know.”
I nodded. “Sounds like you should have packed a suitcase for him.”
“Is this the first time you needed the suitcase?”
I looked down at it. “This particular one, yeah, it is.” I’ve moved out of my parents’ house, but this was the first time I had to grab it and run fast.
“Why are you running?”
I took a deep breath and let out a half laugh, half sigh. I had forgotten what it was like to be a curious tween thinking I wanted to know the answer to everything. “Well…” I sat at the edge of the bale of hay and laced my hands together. My feet shuffled loose hay on the ground. I took another deep breath. “I lost my home. In a fire. All of my absolute essentials are in that suitcase, so I grabbed it, and I ran. I have a cousin nearby.”
Daisy stared at me, evaluating my story like a school principal deciding whether or not my excuse is good enough to get me out of detention. She turned to Oatmeal for his opinion, and he exhaled loudly. She turned back to me and nodded. “Thank you for bringing Oatmeal back.”
“Thank him. He led me here. But I’ll be out of your hair soon.”
Daisy nodded. “Stay as long as you like. Mom and Dad don’t come out here much anyway.”
“Thanks,” I let out before she disappeared through the barn doors. After a string of moos, Oatmeal stood in front of me with expectant eyes. Without thinking too much about it, I found myself confessing to this calf.
That was the day I discovered my ability.
This was meant to be a short writing project, so I could say I completed something and be done with it. But I fell in love with this fictional Oatmeal and related this narrator to another character in another project, so there is going to be crossovers of projects.
Current Projects and Goals:
- Jamie and Ryan: Superhuman murder prevention. Hoping to flesh out the story all the way to the end within the next few months and then going back to edit emotions and fight scenes.
- Daffodil: Super dog saving the animal community from abusive humans with her human sidekick Olivia. Daffodil may one day meet Oatmeal.
As far as reading goes, I am close to finishing Game of Thrones, the first book, and I don’t think I will pick up the series for a while. It’s a good book, and I love some of the characters and hate others, but it’s a “sit down and focus” kind of read, and I don’t have that right now, but it is a series I want to read. It’s probably for the best if George R.R. Martin is still working on the end of the series.
In the midst of my career crisis, I am reading Lindsey Stirling’s memoir. Maybe she can give me some creative ideas. I just started, but so far it’s pretty funny as well as personal, like I’m really getting to know her. And my only wish is that I was better at playing my own violin.
I am also doing some research on writing book reviews and trying to find my own compelling way of reviewing books. Hopefully, I’ll find my niche, and this blog could get some traffic, and I can keep up with it more regularly.