“Run,” I screamed as the cow charged towards us. My brain told me to run, but my voice died in my throat. My feet felt like lead as I stood in the path of the massive animal, its curved, menacing horns pointed at me.
Someone pushed me just as the dirty brown body barreled past. Adele, my seven-year-old cousin, fell on top of me. She saved my butt yet again. Our little limbs flailed as we struggled to get up.
“Get off me, you’re hurting me,” I said and shoved her to the side.
She stood up, tossed her head back and released a loud cackle. She rocked back and forth, eyes sparkling with glee. Her full-bellied laugh implied, “I know how to take care of you better than you can.”
“What’s so funny?” I asked churlishly while I hauled myself up. I patted down my dark blue, mud-stained skirt. Mom’s not going to be happy about my dirty uniform.
Adele pointed at the cow running away from us. The sight made me burst into tears, and I sat down on the unpaved road. Dangling around the cow’s neck like an over-sized necklace was my colorful, single-strap, cotton schoolbag that held my grade two school supplies. The square-shaped floral satchel hung like a pendant swaying side to side.
From the corner of my eyes I saw a figure dash past me. Dhoti hitched above his knees, one dark-skinned hand waved as if the motions could stop the running cow in its track. He caught up with the cow, patted its back, whispered in its ear, and deftly removed my schoolbag.
I recognized the local electrician and handy-man as he approached me. When he held out my bag, he said, “Next time stop clowning around when you’re walking on the street.”
I gulped, nodded, and wiped my tears on my shirt-sleeved arm.
Adele reached for my hand and pulled me up. “Let’s go home,” she said.
“Thanks,” I said in a small voice. I’ll learn to take better care of myself in the future.
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