Charlie

This is a based on a true story I wrote for a contest called Story Lotto, where a selected group of writers share their stories aloud.

It was love at first sight. Charlie was a bit of a mess, but what boy isn’t a fixer upper? I mean, that’s what young love is all about, right? Looking past a rough exterior at what you know is inside. Our conversations where fairly one sided. He didn’t talk much, but he was deep. You couldn’t find larger, more soulful eyes than Charlie’s. He was a bit on the hairy side, and his personal hygiene left a little to be desired. I mean, what lady really wants a man with no regard for where he takes a dump, but you can’t have everything in life.

I met him at my grandpa’s ranch. He was just one of the many eligible bachelors vying for my attention on that fateful morning. The popular song is a little off, it should really go “My milk bottle brings all the calves to the yard, And they’re like, I’ll be all yours, Mooo, I’ll be all yours.” Incidentally I sang that enough times while helping with the milking that my grandma actually looked up the song.

That was also the end of my singing that song.

I could tell right away that Charlie was something special. He had a tan coat with a big black splotch right on the end of his nose. It was easy to spot him from far away with that giant beak of a nose. And his nose, with its moist skin and tiny peach fuzz hairs; it was on the softest out of all the calves. He would just make your heart melt. When trying to bottle feed he would stick out his giant pink tongue and indiscriminately slobber all over both my hand and the bottle until he found the milk he was looking for.

My summer crush might have come to an early end if I had not convinced my dad to bring Charlie to our farm. By “farm” I mean we kept one cow at a time and had three chickens. Live it up dad. As Charlie grew we became closer. Even though he no longer needed to be bottle fed, I would still slip him some extra grain now and again, and I was the only one who could give that perfect head scratch right on the top of his head where his horns were starting to come in.

As Charlie grew, so did our love. Or, at least I thought it did. Come Spring, he started to change. My mom had talked to me about this sort of thing, but it was still unexpected. He no longer enjoyed the things that brought us together, a gentle head scratch, or a stolen moment before I dashed off to school. Instead he spent his time at the fence bordering the neighbor’s property. While I liked to think he was just pining for the grass on the other side, I had a feeling it was that fat black and white Bessie that drew his eye.

How am I supposed to compete with that? I was skinny tween with pimples and only two legs. She had a glistening coat and a layer of fat to be envied. So I did what any rational, loving person would do in this situation. I held my head up and convinced my dad to lock him up on the far side of the pasture.

I practically skipped home from the bus stop, sure that my love had remembered me at last. I entered the pasture and called to him. His ears perked up, his head turned in my direction. The grass in his mouth fell to the ground. He came running, and it was like a scene out of Baywatch as we ran in slow motion to one another. Only, he didn’t stop running. I stopped, and started to back up, but he kept charging full speed ahead. It was at that moment I realized I had made a terrible mistake.

WHAM!

I don’t remember much after that, only that the giant yellow and green bruise the length of my thigh was a constant reminder of the fickle, fickle nature of men. And that Bessie was a bitch.

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