A Good Goat

At first Sarah would head back down into the valley to recharge her phone, and to look for an app that would translate Goat to English.  “There has to be an app for this,” she’d say.  “There’s an app for everything.”  But she would always return disappointed, both with her smart phone and with her own kind, to the cliff where she and Bahry had made a home, alone as outcasts from their respective communities.

When Sarah first hiked up into the mountains after yet another failed relationship, she swore then that she was done with men, and that she would never return.  One after another they would lead her to believe that they loved her when they only really loved themselves.  Her mother was no help.  “Why don’t you just marry Josh.  Why don’t you just marry Stephen. He’s perfectly fine.  What are you waiting for?” she’d ask.

“He left me!” she’d yell back to them.  “They all leave me.”

“Well, what’s wrong with you?” her mother would say.

That wasn’t exactly true.  They had expectations for her that she refused to fill.  She could have played their game if she wanted to.  She could say she turned them down, if she wanted to feel good about herself, because she knew what they wanted.  They wanted to be propped up, adulated, endorsed.  They wanted to feel good about themselves, and they wanted her to be the one that made them feel that way. Josh had a job at the grocery store.  He offered to get her a job there too, and that was his way of providing.  Stephen had a car, and was willing to drive her places.  He told her that he liked her big breasts, thought that would make her feel good.

She had a dream then, a dream to live in the mountains just like it was in the Sound of Music.  The Austrians dancing in their lederhosen would fall in love and then the goat puppets would dance and fall in love and have little goat babies.  She loved that scene.

So, she left humans and hiked up into the mountains to live with the goats.

What she hadn’t anticipated was that a good goat was also hard to find.  The first herd of goats she encountered outright rejected her, even squaring off in a stance as if to charge.  She stood her ground, she had nowhere else to go, but she no longer followed them.  She cried, as they turned and left.  They seemed at that moment heartless and cruel like her own mother.  But she knew that it couldn’t have been easy for them to understand how she felt.  So she remained on the mountain, eating nuts and berries and wild salads.  She found herself an apartment on a rock shelf for a time, while during the day she would climb trees for fun, forage for food and look for other goats.  She abandoned her living space to follow a second herd, but they had heard about her, pardon the pun, and were wary, though, fortunately, not aggressive.  Still, they left her behind, taking a fast pace up a difficult path, almost as if they were trying to get away.  She climbed higher up the mountain then, partly to prove that she could, and partly to look for a highland herd that might be a bit less jaded about humans and a bit more friendly.  She hoped to impress them, with her commitment to the mountain.  The next herd that she found tolerated her, anyway, and she followed them and lived near them for weeks.  They didn’t exactly welcome her, but they didn’t run either and she soon connected with the one she decided to call Bahry.  He was different.  He had always been the one pulling up the rear until she had come along, and so he could relate to her and in all likelihood welcomed her inadequacy.  Then one day he was faced with a choice.  He stayed behind with her when the rest of the herd ascended a cliff that was just too difficult for Sarah.  She sat at the bottom of the rock face and cried, while he stood and watched, until it was just the two of them.  He abandoned his herd for her, and she would always love him for that.  He was loyal, like no man had ever been. Almost like a pet.

In the days and weeks and months that followed, Bahry taught her to climb to the best of her abilities, and they soon found themselves living on a cliff that was easy enough for her, and still offered the requisite protection from the Cats.  He brought her food she could eat, berries, and nuts, carried in his cheeks, and sometimes some animal remains, even though it grossed him out, and other junk he would find on the path that he thought she might like, human garbage and the like, a cigarette butt, a McDonalds wrapper, an old beer can.  He was thoughtful enough to try to make her feel at home on their cliff.

She would look into his eyes when they were alone, after the day’s work was done.   His pupils would flow and wiggle like black water worlds somewhere out there, somewhere deep, dark and soothing, she imagined it as a world where they could live together in peace and safety. When lost in these eyes she would feel like she knew what he was thinking, and that he loved her and she loved him.  She couldn’t remember ever being so happy.  She would smile, and then he would lick her with his long tongue and say, “Baahhh,” and she would laugh.

Bahry was soon shunned by his brothers and sisters and cousins, and half brothers and half sisters and half cousins and twins and Irish twins and inbred sister/brother/cousins for his relationship with the human.  And when Sarah took the long trek down the big mountain for a visit and first told her family about Bahry, they said she was an outright loon.  But Bahry and Sarah loved each other enough to put aside all of their differences.  He was a most noble and helpful mate, and more attentive than any she had ever had before.  He did more for her than any goat could be expected to do.  And as time went on, her visits to the valley became rare and infrequent, until she stopped going altogether.  She gave up on anyone ever making an app for her, forgot all about the family that had raised her and presumed they had forgotten about her too.  She never even told them about their grandchildren.

She had a long married life that spanned 15 years until Bahry’s death, of old age, at 17.  He died in the arms of his still beautiful busty forty year old, surrounded by their Satyr children, all twenty-five of them. She outlived him, as humans often outlive goats, though she had almost died many times during childbirth.  Fortunately, her goat children had came out small, and with soft hoofs, though often in quick succession.  Bahry was by her side through it all, cheek to cheek whispering, “baaah.”  She returned the favor in his final days, laying by him, still cheek to cheek, sweetly singing, “such a good goat you are.”

When he died, she wailed.  The kids were all there, and they were surprised to hear her finally speak goat.

In the years before and after their father’s death, the children established themselves as a respected and prestigious herd of their own.  Some mixed with other goats and Sarah accepted the others without reservation and so she had grandgoatchildren and greatgrandgoatchildren.  They never left her alone, for all the rest of her days, though they were all much more adept at cliff climbing than she would ever be. They were self-sufficient, but they wouldn’t abandon her, and they could translate for her, better than any app could have hoped to do.  In the end, all of the goats of the mountainside accepted Sarah and her half breed children and quarter breed grandchildren and eighth breed greatgrandchildren.  Some of her children inbred as well, which she understood to be something that was well established and perfectly normal among goats, and this provided her with grand and great grand children who had greater degrees of humanality.   She would have never considered such a thing when she was younger with her own brother, but he was a jerk.  Her descendants were all good goats, some of whom as human as her own Satyr children, or more so.  But she didn’t love any of them any less whether they were more goat or more human.  In fact, she had lived long enough with goats that she related to their goat sides as much as to their human sides, if not more, and only wanted for them what she never had for herself. Hooves.

She counseled them all to be proud of what they were, and she was proud of all of them. She was proud to have lived as a goat would, and despite what she lacked, she would sometimes stand high in the mountains and yell down to the valley, though none of those unfortunate souls down there could hear her, “I am a goat!”  Her herd would laugh and Baah and stomp.  When Bahry had first died, she briefly considered returning to a life in the valley among the humans, but she found she had no desire for it, and never regretted her decision to stay.  This was her home.

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