As a girl you see the world as a giant candy store filled with sweet candy and such. But one day you look around and you see a prison and you’re on death row. You wanna run or scream or cry but something’s locking you up. Are the other folks cows chewing cud until the hour comes when their heads roll? Or are they just keeping quiet like you, planning their escape?
(Quoted from the movie “The good girl”)
When I watched this movie a few days ago I was struck by this opening passage. So much that I in fact paused the movie, restarted it and listened to it again. And for some reason, this very stereotypical quote from a hardly known movie made me think. And it lifted a weight from my shoulders that I didn’t even know about.
I know so very well just how you believe everything is a wonderful dream as a child. And I too know the moment of looking around and realizing – it’s a prison. I’m a cow, I’m on death row. Everybody is. I too wondered if I was the only one realizing what we were. Our deaths would come much too soon and someone would have to act, but for some reason, nobody did. The humans stared at us whenever we left our barn. They stared, made fun of our furs and claws, were shocked by our ways and always wondering why there were cows at all.
I accepted my inevitable fate. My death sentence was spoken the day I was born and no amount of pleading would reverse the decision. I took my case to the highest court, begged God himself on my knees to somehow let me out of the cage and remove my chains. God’s answer was simple: The butcher was sent to make it short and quick.
I was decorated and prepared to walk down the aisles of the slaughterhouse soon enough. I, the fearful cow, looked around at the other cows, just as chained as caged as I was. But they didn’t know. They didn’t see it. They didn’T see the blood splattered tiles on the wall, blood of hundreds and hundreds of other cows who weren’t able to escape the freezing cold deathtrap.
I saw my own death approaching with steady steps, a large knife in hand, smiling softly. “This is what you were made for” he told me. And just as he was about to swing his knife, he trembled. Let me go, I said. And to my surprise, he hesitated for a moment and his eyes told me to run for my life as long as I had the chance. And I did.
Running down the aisles, making my way to the backdoor, the other cows mooh’d and boo’d at me, threw stones, spit blood out of their half slaughtered mouths, and finally, as I could see the first flicks of sunlight at the end of the hallway, they joined together to form an unheard choir. “You are lost, you are lost, you are lost.” The steps approaching, the sound of metal banging against tiled walls, the slurping sound of dying meat dragging across the floor grew louder and louder as I finally pushed open the door and stumbled on warm, hard concrete. With a loud banging noise the door closed behind me. I looked back just to realize there was no knob on the outside, no way to get back in. From inside I could still hear the choirs, the dragging, the screaming but muted now.
I stood up just to realize that I actually had two legs and the warm breeze gently played with my flowery skirt. My bovine grimace was gone, replaced by a pointy little nose, almond-shaped eyes and small mouth with soft lips. My fur, which had subjected me to much joking from the human crowd had receded and formed a ponytail on my head. I looked at my claws, bloodied still, but now made of fragile fingers. As I started walking away from the slaughterhouse I wiped my hands clean on my dress. Not quite sure where to go, I left the slaughterhouse grounds through a little whole in the wire netting fence. Out on the sidewalk I was greeted with wild inner city traffic roaming on the streets. Cars, busses, trucks. The other pedestrians looked at my shook-up being with some suspicion, but I quickly adjusted as I walked down the street. As I reached the end of the street I saw a bus-stop. I took a seat on one of the worn down benches and waited with the other figures. Did they know what was happening right here, in the middle of the city? Had they not wondered about the cows? Had they not heard the screams?
The bus arrived, smelling of gas and city dirt, making steaming sounds as it stopped. Together with the other passengers I got in line and stepped onto the bus. The friendly old driver shot me an understanding look and asked “Where to, young Lady?”. I was speechless. Where should I go? I tried to come up with something but my mind was empty. As the first tear started flowing from my eyes, the driver said “No worries. Just sit down. I’ll take you to the train station. From there, you can decide where you want to go.” I nodded thankfully and sat down and as I did I could hardly believe the thought which flooded my mind. Free, free at last.
So, as I watched this movie and the scene unfolded in my head I couldn’t help but take a deep breath. I hadn’t realized before just how lucky I was to get out when I did. I know that, once I had been married, it would mean my death. It would have been the point of no return. I jumped off the crashing train just moments before it hit the wall. And this realization was so… amazing.