She stares at me; I stare back with equal intensity. She snorts at me and I can’t help but smile in a way that I save for myself. I smile that tells everyone else that, no, Sam is not communicating through her mind with a goat.
The goat, disinterested, in a way only a goat can be, brays loudly and walks away. Her solemn, button eyes are emotionless as she cranes her head back and brays again. I wince at the noise.
Get me my oats, and stop being silly, little girl. Her eyes shoot daggers in my direction.
“Fine,” I mutter, slapping her hind playfully. She scoots forward out of my reach and her ears go back in disdainful scorn.
“How dare I touch a lady in such a manner?” I say, mocking her imperial habits. But then I sigh and trudge to the stable. I give her oats and fresh hay to settle in, and as she begins munching in a peaceful fashion at her oats. I bend to plant a single kiss on her rough, craggy head. “Good night, Wilamina.” I say to her gently.
Back in the house I hang my jacket on a hook near the door in the mud room, shake the freezing, wet earth off my boots and peel the wet socks off my feet. I can’t help but smile, and then I laugh…
Through the kitchen window I see a goat head peer over the barn gate. I stare awhile, not really believing Wilamina would ever voluntarily leave her food so soon after it was poured in her bowl. I keep staring. Her head seems small and far away, almost comical, as if we stuffed her head and nailed it to the top of the gate. She is very still and stares at me with such focus it’s almost disturbing.
Wait, there. I squint and strain to see. I can barely make out her face as one eyelid blinks. She turns away and I can’t see her any more.
I sit back in my chair and look blankly at the wall.
I think that goat just winked at me.