When Poseidon was born, he had a number burned into his flank, marking him as a bastard, because his mother was not approved of by the breeding associations. Yes, back then, foals were still burned in Denmark.
The burn marks were mostly left untreated, so it would scar as much as possible. Heal as badly as possible.
In Poseidon’s case, they succeeded. I believe I have written a book about this horse and the mental scars he suffered from his first two years with those people, but I don’t think I mentioned the burn mark.
When I bought him as a two year old, it was not healed. Part of it was infected and the flank was swollen. Due to how untouchable Poseidon was, I could just watch it, and hope for the best, because there were more pressing matters with this horse.
Once I did get closer to him, and he allowed me to touch him, we managed to heal it somewhat, but, I don’t know. It never really healed. Maybe because it had been a permanent wound for two years.
Some days it was better than others.
In time, it became a perfect symbol of every thing that was done to him, how neglected he had been, how scared, wounded and bleeding he was.
How, no matter what I did, I could never quite help him escape the demons in his mind.
15 years, we shared. 15 years, I asked myself every single day, if today was the day, I would fail him for real. If it was today, that he would hurt someone, and I had to put him down. If it was today, that he would hurt himself so badly, that I could not treat it. If it was today, I simply owed him, to let him have peace.
He was, and always will be, the person who created me. Everything I am, I am because he needed me to be this person.
My heart, my soul, my star, my endless night. My greatest accomplishment and my biggest failure. 15 years.
I have not cried for him once, since he died.
It feels like all the tears I had to cry for him, cried when he was alive. Letting him go in the end, was a strange kind of relief.
My pasture is empty without him, let’s not pretend that a persona as huge as his, does not leave a vacuum, and my life has a lot less purpose and direction now.
But I don’t… miss him much. Not really.
I miss us. Who I was, with him.
I am honored to have known him. I am humbled that he chose me and allowed me to love him. I am happy that I saw him through this life and I am grateful for everything I learned, growing up with him.
And I am relieved that he is finally at peace.
In a strange way, so am I, now that he is no longer suffering. Now that the scars finally do not matter anymore.
I have been wanting a tattoo for a long time, and I did consider having his name written on me, but somehow that felt wrong. I mean, what of the others then? Apollon, his brother? Legacy, the horse that never had a chance, and shattered me into a thousand little pieces? Amalia, the girl that kept me sane for 14 years? Why Poseidon, and not any of them?
I know that Poseidon was my “special” case, but in truth, so was Apollon. So was Legacy. They were all special in their own way.
And then it hit me. The burn mark. The scar that never healed. The number, that was burned into his skin when he was young and untouched by human hands. The number that was all he was, to the world around us. The bastard foal, that was my entire world for 17 years. (Yes, I knew him for 2 years before I could buy him.)
It’s been 6 years since he died now. 6 years, since he put his life in my hands one last time, and I took it from him. 6 years.
I could have sworn it was yesterday, he closed those huge eyes for the last time and the most amazing spirit, the bravest soul I ever knew, departed this world.
I guess it is my turn now. I had the number tattooed on my arm. Not to remember the damage that was done to him, not to remind myself that I could not heal his scars, but simply because nothing symbolizes us better.
This mark was forced upon us, by a world we never fitted into. A world where we were just passing by, fighting to survive, day by day.
You may read this and think that this is a sad story, but it is not. We did survive. We were happy. We did good. We got so amazingly far. We learned to live.
That is what this number mean to me.
Reminding me to live, in spite of everything.
Not just survive.