To my lover –

I will love you until the cows come home.

But beware: Once the cows are home, you will witness a wild shift in my personality.

You knew this about me, and you knew this about the cows. I made this very clear when we had the argument in front of the ducks. We were at the pond, you made quite the scene, and I had to explain it to you right there — those are my ducks. In the absence of my cows, at this point, they are priority number one in my life. To think I would put you before my ducks is a near wanton absurdity.

You know how I feel about the ducks, so you should know how I feel about the cows.

I have been beside myself waiting for the cows to come home. I have wracked my brain with where they could be, and after hours of strife I have collapsed under the pain, only to assuage myself with a bit of online shopping. I collect tarps. This is one of the few things that pacifies me. The cows are not home, and I do what I can to try to come to terms with that fact.

In their absence, I have done what I can to make the hours go by a little faster. I have taken up paintballing, for example, and I have taken a lover. That lover is you — my brief requiem, the small, illusory bit of relief I’ve carved out for myself while I’ve been waiting. Waiting for the cows to come home.

You often protest and ask me: what will I do once they are home? Well, breathe again, for starters. The prickling anxiety I’ve felt for years will at last be quelled. Once that happens, I can press re-start on this purgatory of a life. I imagine I will no longer be spending my time paintballing, as the agitation of that lifestyle might no longer suit me. Once I know the comfort of my cows being home, I will rebuild myself piece by piece, my calves and bulls altogether with me.

As for you — you are welcome to stay here on the property as long as you like. You may peruse the aviary, or tend to the climbing vines in the greenhouse — just know that once the cows come home, they come home. Our exchange, while meaningful, is temporary.

But for now, the cows are not home. That much is clear to both of us, as neither of us have seen a live cow in some time. The only time we ever see one is on the television, or on your stunning iPad. I get tremendously overstimulated when I see a cow. I begin pacing, imagining that seeing them onscreen is some kind of sign — that perhaps the cows are on their way back. I apologize for how excited I get, but by this point you should understand.

We live in extraordinarily uncertain times. I know that. You know that. The cows know it, better than anyone. The ephemera of time is not lost on them. Yet, here I am, time’s tired keeper — and I am never more reminded of this then when I see a cow skitter across your tablet: so alive, then so suddenly gone.

Gone. Funny word, no? Like geese. Perhaps this is a good time to remind you — if you value what is left of this life — never mention the geese.