My early morning in November began like any other. The cell phone alarm went off for school and then went off again every five minutes until I woke up. I stretched at the foot of my bed and looked outside to see two squirrels running up and down the oak tree next to my window. Life was good.
I showered, brushed my teeth, put on some clothes, and made my way downstairs to eat the quick bowl of cereal my mom always poured before I hopped on the bus. She was by the stove and in hindsight nervous. Extremely nervous to the point of obsessively polishing the ugly linoleum countertop she hated. That was always a fight in our house, the state of our kitchen. She wanted granite; my dad wanted fiscal responsibility. I didn’t notice any of this due to my eyelids remaining in their down mode as they were want to do. What I did notice was the lack of a cereal bowl on the table.
“Could I have Frosted Flakes?” She didn’t answer.
“Mom, could I get breakfast?”
Again no answer.
“Mom!” I shouted more out of neglect than anger, and the sonic boom coming from my mouth jarred her back to life.
“What’s that, honey? Sure breakfast sure.” She opened the drawer to grab a pan, and I saw her hand trembling.
Was she crying?
What was going on?
And why was an elderly Goat sitting on the couch in my living room?
“Mom? What’s that?” Mom raced over and held me in her arms. Tears fell freely down her face and landed on me like a summer storm.
“Oh, honey. I prayed this day wouldn’t come. I prayed, and I prayed to the Squirrel and the Frog and even the Raccoon, but it’s happening. I am so sorry.” I pulled away, scared, nervous, and officially freaked out.
“What the fuck is happening?”
Suddenly a loud “BAHHHHHHHH” roared from the elderly Goat. He had tufts of gray mixed in with his black fur, eyes as blue as a Bed Bath & Beyond coupon and one of his horns was chipped. He stood up on his hind legs, displaying his full goathood and kicked.
A box slid across the floor, landing at my feet. I turned to look at my mom, but she had left the room, sobbing.
“BAHHHHHHHHH,” the Goat said again.
I bent down and opened the plain cardboard box. The flaps extended outward like a toddler looking for a hug. I stood there, unable to move my eyes to the down position so I could see inside. My brain conveyed to me in simple logic that I was not allowed to look. To do so would spell the end of all I knew. Of all, I held dear. Therefore I couldn’t look inside. I just couldn’t.
“BAHHHHHHHHHHH!” I had no choice.
I looked inside and saw it.
“BAHHHHHHHHHHH.” His words haunt me to this day. I knew what had happened, and I knew it was too late to change things. The day had finally come.
The Goat had arrived to give me The Crock-Pot, announcing to the world, the universe and everything in between I was no longer a kid. I had become an adult.
Without a word, I went on Pinterest, found a crock-pot recipe, and went to work.