“Look at them,” Peter said as he glared through the window. “She cares more about that damn cow more than she does me.”
“Can you blame her?” Lucas said. “That cow’s pretty cool.”
Peter chose to ignore Lucas, this time, and continued watching as Sylvia caressed and petted the cow. Peter had always had a disdain for farm animals. But Sylvia insisted that they live on her family’s ranch, much to Peter’s chagrin. However, he loved her and just wanted her to be happy. Yet, that cow…Berenice the Cow. There was just something about it that made Peter wince.
“Maybe because it’s black?” Lucas said. Peter twisted around and shot Lucas a look, but Lucas didn’t notice. He was lounging on the couch, sipping on some herbal tea.
“No! It’s not because it’s black! I just don’t get why Sylvia loves that damn…creature so much!”
“Probably cause it’s big and strong, but also listens, and loves Sylvia unconditionally.”
“You are trying to screw with me. I love Sylvia unconditionally with all my heart. Which is why I must…neutralize the beast.”
“Hm. I’m sorry what?”
Peter turned back to the window. “Then I will have the local butcher grind-up the remnants, turn him into hamburger patties. Yes. And then, once Sylvia has finished consuming her burger I will let her know the truth. Then she will realize…there can only be one.”
“…Dude.” Lucas set his tea down. “What’s gotten into you?”
“You’re talking like some 3rd rate villain.” Lucas stared at Peter but then shrugged. “Fine. Whatever. You do you. I’ll have no part. I’m sure Sylvia will be most appreciative.” Lucas stomped away, but Peter didn’t care. He watched as Sylvia stroked the top of Berenice’s head and spoke to it. What was she talking about?
Later that night Peter awoke. He felt a presence standing over his bed. He turned on the lamp and looked. “Ah. Sylvia. How is it–what? What’s the matter?”
Her face was expressionless. Cold. “Peter,” she intoned.
“Yes my sweetie?”
“I’ve grown to dislike you.”
The room became silent. After a moment, Peter gulped. “Oh…okay. Maybe we could–”
“I only have one true love now…”
Suddenly, Peter noticed Berenice the cow at the foot of his bed, staring at him with its stupid cow-eyes.
Peter’s face changed. “Damn! I knew it! That cow has been trying to steal you from me!”
“What? Oh Peter, don’t be silly. I mean, Berenice is great and all, but we’re just friends.”
Berenice, upon hearing this, snorted and cast its gaze downward.
“No, the one I love is tall, strong, handsome, and actually listens to me and loves me…unconditionally.”
“But-but. I’m tall…”
“No! Please don’t kill me! Don’t!”
“What? I wasn’t going to kill you. I just want you gone by morning.”
“Oh…I knew that. So…who is–”
“Lucas. It’s Lucas.”
“Oh. Oh okay. I mean, I honestly didn’t see that coming. But I guess that makes sense. Kinda dull, isn’t he?”
“Peter, pack your things. I don’t want to see you ever again. Come on Berenice.”
Sylvia and Berenice left the room, leaving Peter all alone. His head fell back onto the pillow and he stared up at the ceiling. His mind oscillated with a plethora of feelings, from anger to confusion to regret to heartache. A tear gripped the corner of his eye, but would not let go. He wanted to go back to the city, sure, but everything has soured, empty. Unlike the cow feces that were emanating in his room whose odor was strong, pronounced, fearless.
It was around noon when Sylvia spotted Peter still in bed. She shook her head. “Can’t believe…Lucas!” Lucas entered the room wearing nothing but a bathrobe and holding a cup of tea.
Sylvia sternly pointed at Peter.
“Get him out of here!”
“Because I no longer love him!”
“Oh.” Lucas sipped on his tea. “But you love me right?”
Sylvia smiled. “Of course I do. You’re my big, strong, handsome man.”
“Okay. But if you no longer loved me, this is how you would treat me?”
Sylvia was taken aback. “What? Well, no. No! Of course not! I will never not love you!”
“Right. Right.” Lucas took another sip of his tea. “I’m just sayin’ it’s, you know, a little disrespectful to wake someone up. And you know me, I need to sleep in from time-to-time.”
Sylvia and Lucas stared at each other for the longest time until Lucas just left and went back to the couch. Sylvia turned back to Peter. She called his name a couple of times, gave-up, and continued her work on the ranch. A few hours later she came back and still found Peter in bed, in the exact same position. “You’ve got to be…”
They buried Peter in a shallow grave by the cow pen. They figured he died in his sleep, or from the overbearing stench of cow excrement that had been wafting in his room. Either way, he was done with.
But that evening, Berenice approached the tiny stick they used as Peter’s headstone, sniffed it, and stared. Then she turned away and headed towards one of the windows, watched Sylvia with the other and snorted wistfully.
Written for The Sunday Muse. I’m so sorry.