If you haven’t noticed, Gilbert, my escape goat, is wearing a bikini. Do not ask me how that happened. I do not know. It got a little sunny out and all hell breaks loose in
Goatland. However, I learned something new about him. He’s not afraid to cross dress.
Gilbert and I go way back.
An escape goat is a special kind of goat. Not everyone has one. Most Expats do. I mean, how else did you end up so far away from what you know? How else do we find the courage to move into lands and countries we know only from word of mouth or books or pictures in National Geographic.
By definition, an escape goat is just that. He helps you leave one place for another; one situation for another. He leads you sometimes, makes sure you have sure footing and other times holds you back a bit, slows you down so you don’t get too damaged. He never says don’t go, he says go cautiously and let me help you.
And he’ll always take the blame. That’s the best part. Why did you end up in Morocco? Well, my escape goat just had to check out the monkeys there. You know how it is with escape goats, can’t stop ‘em?
I don’t know the story of your escape goat, but I can tell you what I know of Gilbert.
Gilbert is really old. He’s extremely wise and rather chatty at times. He mostly coughs when he’s not so thrilled with the direction we’re taking. You know that annoying “this is going to be trouble but I’m not going to say anything because you obviously know best” cough.
When Gilbert raises his voice, I’ve learned to listen. He’s usually right.
He tells me nothing of his upbringing or where he came from. I’ve asked. He tells me its not important. He tells me only my journey is important. He tells me he’s been there from the very beginning. This important with escape goats. They must know your history, your story, why you are the way you are. See, escape goats need to know what path to lead you on or from and only by being there from your beginning can they know this.
He’s always been there. He tried to soften my landing when I learned to jump from my crib. He helped me learn to walk. I wasn’t holding my mother’s fingers as I made my first steps; it was Gilbert’s tail.
He was there on my first day of kindergarten. After I burned myself on the car cigarette lighter in a feeble attempt to be so injured I had to stay home, my mom kissed me goodbye and Gilbert gently nudged me into my classroom. He sat by the door and waited patiently for our recesses.
I had to drag Gilbert to college. He wanted to go at a slower pace, he told me to slow down. God only knows where I’d be if he hadn’t drug his hooves a bit. Then when things started to go really wrong and I couldn’t find my way back, Gilbert carried me home.
He pushed my ass out the door for job interviews, dates and sometimes even if I just needed to go to the grocery store.
Gilbert made sure I made it home from many “morning-afters” and never once judged my walk of shame. He even wore slippers so his hooves wouldn’t clip clop so loud.
He literally showed me the path to Germany, placing one hoof in front of the other so I didn’t fall and break a leg. He’d take me back to the States in a second if I asked him.
He knows the way, even when I don’t.
He is such a caring and giving, if not stubborn, goat.
And all this time I had no idea.
You go, Gilbert!