Part 2 – The Friendship, My Baby, and Circle of Life
After that day, the little girl no longer cried when she was with me. She seemed to be happier when she took me out to the rice fields. She started to talk to me more often and she even told me about her day at school.
Some days when her mother took me to the rice fields instead, she went to find me in my hut and told me about her day. I loved it when I was with her, and listened to her stories. Although I did not really understand all of her stories.
The little girl was a very happy girl. She always was full of energy, and she was a very positive little girl. I remembered she told me that someone in her class teased her about her skin colour. They said her skin was the same colour as mine and people thought it was an ugly colour.
She was upset about that. She told me that the way she dealt with these comments was she would pretend she did not hear them. Then, she told me it was okay to be different. She was very happy to be with me. If her skin was the same as mine then obviously, we were close friends, she said, then she laughed.
Poor my girl! I knew she was sad I talked to her, but she didn’t understand me. I thought if I just listened to her story and let her lie on my back and gave me a hug. I knew she would feel better. That was my way to care for her.
During the summertime, the little girl and I often spent time together in the rice fields, because she had a summer school holiday. Sometimes we went to the mountain to eat grass, daisy plants and the leftover corn plants.
When we were out for the whole day, she ate her lunch while I was resting in a bush, or when I bathed in the mud if we were in the rice fields. After she finished her lunch, she would join me in the water and she cleaned the mud off my body before we headed home.
I had quite a few friends in the village now. My friend and I sometimes met in the rice field then the little girl played with other kids. They were very naughty when they met. They would not let us have a bath in water or in mud. They would be on our back and play their games. Although it was nice to see my friends in the field, sometimes I wondered who would stand one foot or skip rope on the buffalo’s back. “Only those kids”, I thought.
I met a guy in the rice fields when the little girl’s mother took me to the field. We were in love, or at least I was in love. The funny thing was I only met my guy when I was out with the little girl’s mother so I could not tell the little girl that was my boyfriend. A few months later I was pregnant. I could feel the difference in my body. After that, I never met my guy again.
Mum did not teach me how to be a mother. I noticed my stomach was getting bigger every day and I could feel my child growing up inside me.
Everybody in the family looked after me including the little girl. She knew how to look after me while I was pregnant. She did not kick me on my stomach when she climbed on my back. She climbed from my head or my tail. She was very gentle to me.
She often talked to my baby – she looked like an old lady when she did that.
That day came, the day I could see my baby for the first time. It was a cold night. I had never felt that cold before, not even in the mountain area where I lived with mum.
With my first child, I was inexperienced, so I was very clumsy and nervous. The vet, the little girl’s parents, her grandma, her aunty, and the little girl were all there that night. It was rainy, cold, and windy outside. However, it was warm inside, and my baby finally was born safely.
The little girl was happy. Tears were in her eyes when she met my little one. She whispered in my ear and said she would look after the little calf with me.
That winter was too cold, I felt so weak and tired after my delivery. Poor my baby, he was so young and so little. The weather was so hash for him. We were happy together for the first few days, but the weather wasn’t getting better. It was even colder and colder every day. I could see my little one was getting weaker day by day.
I did not see the little girl for many days. One day she went to the hut and put more wood into the fire. I knew she tried to keep us warm, but not even the fire could do that. My little one did not drink milk after a few days. The vet came to check on him and fed him some milk, but my baby wasn’t able to drink. My baby died few days later.
I felt very sick after that. I was sad and I did not want to eat. Then the little girl came to the hut more often. She fed me some corn soup and sometimes she brought some green grass. She was quiet when she was with me.
The Circle of Life
I remembered Mum told me a story about ‘the circle of life’. One time she was sad when her friend in the village died. She told me that when we died, we would go to a better place, and we would transform into another form. The present was just a temporary place. In our next life, we might be born as a tiger, a fish, or even a human.
Mum said I shouldn’t be too sad when someone I knew died because a better place was waiting for them in their next life. I did not really understand what she had told me until that moment when my first baby died.
I tried to think like what Mum had told me. I hoped my little one would be in a better place and have a better life. However, believed me it was hard to accept that you have lost someone you loved.
The weather was getting warmer after a while. It was warm enough that I could go to the rice field. The little girl often took her brothers with us. They were noisy when we were out in the fields. I never thought I would love to be annoyed by the three of them, but I did. They distracted me from the sadness.
A few months later, I met my guy again then I was pregnant… again! This time I had more experience, the weather was warm. My second baby was born as a healthy one. We spent a lot of time together with the little girl in the rice fields.
After two years I had another one. My older child moved to another house when she was three years old like I did. My mum was right, when my child was old enough it was time for them to move out. My child would find their own home. I continued to live with my owners and their children. For a long time, I thought this would be my home forever.