roof cows

You're walking down a quiet side street. It's a balmy and pleasant late summer evening and you're on your way home for dinner. A tub of hummus from a corner shop fridge sweats gently in your backpack.

As you approach the end of the side street, a gentle moo floats through the heavy air. There's a building on the corner. In another time, or another place (or bathed in the golden light of the evening, split into rays by the streetlights and houses nearby) it could be a temple.

You pause to adjust your backpack straps. You hear it again, undeniable this time, and look up to the roof of the building.

Sat delicately upon the edge on edge of the roof is a beautiful statue of a cow. Her marble body looks almost opalescent under the warm light. You wonder how such a gentle expression could have been carved from stone, how her soft, thick lashes could have been rendered so perfectly by tools so crude in comparison. She blinks.

She blinks again. Her tail swings side to side, flicks at non existent flies. Without hesitation, you reach into your backpack and retrieve the carrot you were saving to dip in the hummus.

As you find your footing on the drainpipe, the evening breeze chills your damp forehead. Carrot tucked into pocket, you begin to climb. You think it's unusual that even on a quiet side street nobody has passed by, or spotted you from a bedroom window. You're glad this is the case. Even if someone called out to you now, you know you wouldn't stop. The cow closes her eyes and you hear her sigh, contented. You're almost at the top.

As you pull yourself up onto the roof you see the last rays of light travel up her strong neck, her serene face, her tufted ears that flick at the evening mosquitos. You wonder how much time has passed since you started climbing. The sun doesn't usually set this quickly.

Finally, you start walking towards her to offer the carrot. Your limbs feel heavy and cold. You reason it's from the exertion of the climb and the evening breeze no longer warmed by the sun. You're tired. You drop your backpack the floor. The corner shop hummus rolls out, you don't notice. You have to sit down. You're not facing her anymore, but you don't mind. You're looking down onto the street, lit by streetlamps now and still empty. You close your eyes.

When you open them, it's a balmy and pleasant later summer evening.

The sun is shining, thick and golden like honey, onto your body. You know you have been here for a long time, yet you have no desire to move. You bat your thick lashes gently, swing your tail from side to side to flick at flies that only you can see. Your ears prick up as you hear footsteps from the street below.

Someone is staring up at you from the pavement with a carrot in their hand.

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I want to go home, please.