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Cat House

Since we moved, in May, we have had a small window open so the cats could easily run in and out on their own. Considering how Chad has a high pitched scream and how Jussi attacks the door if it is closed, the fresh air has been much better for my sleep at night. Those two are never happy, if they don’t have a way in and out and they take great pride in waking me every hour all night, if I dare trap them, either outside or inside.

The boyfriend easily sleeps from Chad’s screams, and Jussi clawing his way through the glass door, but me, no. I wake up at 3 am when Chad innocently licks the bottom of the food bowl, because it might be close to empty, soon…

It is November now, though, and in Denmark, that means that it has begun to be pretty cold to have a window open. It also prevents me from heating up the place in anyway, simply because any radiator would go crazy if fired up underneath an open window.

So, lately, it’s been cold. When the boyfriend has been sleeping at work, I have been completely unable to heat up the bed, and I mostly slept with my winder jacket on.

Shy decided that the bedroom, (where the open window is, for brilliant reasons,) was too cold, and moved into my work room. Now, when the little cat is cold, I guess it is time to read the writing on the wall.

We have had so much lately, and the boyfriend have hardly been home, so fixing the heating situation has not really been top of our to-do-list.

Also, I was pretty sure I did not want a cat flap. I hate the sound of those, and I know that would keep me awake forever, with the cats running in and out all night. What to do then?

Close the window and teach the boys to sleep in doors at night? Accept that Jussi would be tearing the wallpaper off the walls and that Chad might start peeing in the bed in protest? (I know, they are great guys, those two.) Or, accept that they are cats, and that cats are night time animals and need to be outside at night?

So, I could teach them to be outside at night? Ignore the sound of Jussi’s claws on glass, and hope the neighbors would not be kept up by Chad’s Nazgul scream? Or, accept that cats were not made for Denmark and that NO cat should be kept outside in the Danish winter, because it is simply too cold?

Back on the cat flap, right?

Nah, you see, my boyfriend is pretty good at thinking outside the box. Or, rather, he designed a cat-box.

Yes, you read that right.

An isolated box, build around the open window, breaking the wind and keeping our radiator from freaking out.

I’ll be the first to admit, I cannot imagine stuff like that. Even when he tried to explain his idea, I had no clue what he wanted. I have no understanding of those kinds of things. I did not get geometry in school and I sure don’t get it now.

So, I set out to help him build this blindly.

 

Shy had tons of fun rolling in the Styrofoam.

I had a lot less fun catching her and getting it out of her fur so she would not eat it…

And of course, the weather prognosis promised rain, so we were kind of under pressure while building it. Also, if we did not get it done, we would not get it done for days, as the boyfriend was leaving for a 5 day (and night) shift at the school.

It got dark and started to rain before we got to paint it, so we covered it up, hoping not to ruin the wood and this morning, I got up early and painted it before it started raining again.

 

I’m actually not sure if the neighbors can complain and make us remove it, but I’ll keep my fingers crossed that they won’t. I think it looks pretty nice and one could argue that they could just not stare into our garden, right?

Anyway, it works. The cats use it easily and it breaks the wind, and once I get the curtain up at the entrance, (it is pouring down rain at the moment, not going out there,) and a few minor details, I actually think this is a good solution.

Time will tell, I guess. For now, Shy is no longer complaining about the cold and the boys get to run in and out and I… get to sleep. Without my winter jacket. Imagine that.

I sometimes wonder what life would be like without pets. Boring, I bet. But easier. Much, much easier.

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Always Changing

I have been thinking a lot lately, about how I want my life to be. I guess it is in human nature to always want something different from what you got. At least, it is deeply embedded in me, to always change.

For instance, I recently discovered that a lot of people seem to think that I dye my hair blue, or wear rainbows and unicorns on my clothes, to get noticed. I swear, it never crossed my mind. I despise it when people comment on my clothes, or on my hair. I hate it when the ladies at the gym think they have the right to touch me because I wear something sparkly, or to pet me when I shaved my hair to write Gishwhes on my head.

I dye my hair once in a while, because I get tired of the way it is. I wear the clothes I wear, because that is who I am. It is the clothes I feel comfortable in. Like, some people think that black pants shape them. Well, I like unicorns. And My Little Pony. And rainbows. They look good on me, in my mind.

I never dress to impress anyone else. It never occurred to me that I could be viewed as if I am looking for attention, or trying to stand out. I do know that I stand out, and that I never fit in, but that never bothered me either. I am not trying to. I am just me, and I really wish that people would stop thinking that they know why I do things.

I just like my hair blue sometimes. That is who I am. The people who does not comment on it at all, are the very few who understands me. My best friend’s children doesn’t even blink when I change my hair…

IMG_8619 ds

Anyway, side track.

No, I feel like there is always some part of me that is moving on, no matter where I am. Looking for something new. When I joined my gym a year ago, that was new and scary and I honestly did not know if I was going to like it at all. Still, there was a need inside me, for changing my life, and having stopped competing with, and training horses, I knew I had to do something if I were going to keep walking.

Carrying the hay for my own horses was becoming a problem for me. I actually started wondering if I was getting too old to have horses, at the age of 34. My back simply could not take the weight of the hay.

So, instead of giving up, I chose to fight. I was told, as early as when I was 15 years old, that my chiropractor had no idea how I was even walking, considering how damaged my spine is, and the threat of ending in a wheelchair has followed me most of my life.

That is the kind of thing that does make you fight, is it not?

To my big surprise, I loved the gym. At least, once I got over the first few months of trying new classes, and finding out what I was ready for and what I absolutely could not do yet. But everything I could not do, gave me something to work towards.

I saw women twice my age, easily lift bars much, much heavier than what I could take, which was amazingly inspiring.

I realized that a lot of my injuries could actually be trained to a point where I am more pain-free now, than I have ever been in my entire life.

It has been an amazing journey, discovering what I can make my body do, and knowing that there is always more I can work towards. Somehow, I guess it is empowering to finally feel like you are in control of your body and not like you are being controlled by it’s limitations.

In that regard, the gym has been amazing.

By now, I’ve been to all the branches of my gym in my local area, tried everything from Boxing to Zumba and BodyPump, and even after we moved away so I have quite a long drive to anyone of my gyms, I kept showing up for classes, most days both in the morning and in the afternoon.

At first, I tried Zumba to do some mild cardio, because well, I suck at that and the dedicated cardio classes were killing me. I then discovered that I was horrible at coordination and that Zumba was actually quite a challenge for me.

Of course I was too stubborn to give up on that, and so I sought out new Zumba instructors every time I was starting to remember the steps with one of them. Again, always moving, always looking for something new.

At one point, I ended with a guy who is more of a dance instructor than a fitness instructor. I nearly did not go back to his classes, because he was everything I am not and to be honest, I had a much harder time reading him, than anyone else. But of course, I got stubborn and I had to come back.

I am not sure how I happened to become a dedicated stalker of his, but it has started bothering me lately, how much time I spend on Zumba and how I am letting actual (no offence) work out, take a second place.

At the other branches of my gym, there is mostly tough girls running the show, and we go there and work out and yes, we smile and laugh and know each others names, but that is about it.

At “his” gym, people spend just as much time drinking coffee with each other, as they spend dancing and even when he goes on vacation, do they show up and dance his stuff, without him. I was pretty fascinated by it at first, but that too has started to feel strange to me.

I was never a follower. I am not going to be. I am at the gym to get stronger. To remain strong enough to keep my horses. To keep my spine from collapsing.

I am not there to drink coffee. Hell, I don’t even drink coffee, because of the fault in my heart. I am not there to be a dancer. Truth be told, I am not there to make friends at all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. These are all wonderful people, and I don’t mind being friends with them, but that was not why I signed up for the gym. It really was not.

It is not. And I have started to remember that lately.

I am pretty obsessive, I know that. Lately, I feel like I am losing who I am, to my obsession with going to the gym all the time.

I am not writing anymore. I have not touched my books for a long time.

That is wrong. When I am not writing, I need to take a step back and wonder where my life took a wrong turn and this time, I actually know the answer.

I need to quit going to the gym twice a day. If that means that some days, I won’t be able to go to Zumba, because I have to go to BodyPump instead, then that is okay too. I need to spend less time driving back and forth. I need to spend less time after the classes, hanging out with the girls. I am losing myself this way, and I cannot keep going like that.

I don’t want to.

I actually considered switching gyms. My twin works out at another gym, and I will admit, that it feels very tempting to just join her and focus on the training I need to do, and much less on dancing and hanging out.

So, yes, as much as the gym has been a godsend for me, it has become a bit of an unhealthy obsession I am not sure how to quit.

The truth is, I am probably not going to quit my gym, as long as this particular Zumba instructor is there, because somehow he managed to become very dear to me.

So I ended up with a bit of a weird solution. Instead of quitting my gym and joining my twins gym, I kept my membership at my gym and… Found a small, very local, gym that is practically in my backyard.

When we moved here, I did check them out, but they didn’t have BodyPump, or any of the classes I needed at the time. Now, as I checked them again, they do.

I know. The best way to scale down on the hours you spend at the gym is… by joining a second gym. Right.

But having this gym so close by will allow me to not spend as much time driving back and forth. It will remove me from some of the classes where we usually hang out for hours afterwards. All in all, I should still be working out pretty much the same, (although perhaps a little less dancing,) but I should have much more time on my hands, this way.

Hopefully I will get back to opening my books again, and letting my characters talk to me once more, because they have been very quiet lately.

So here I am, changing again. Always moving on. Going for my first classes at my little local gym tomorrow morning.

I guess it is about balance. I have many faces and if one of them gets more attention than the other, I start to fail as a whole.

I am, first and foremost, a writer.

And a crazy one at that. I cannot let the gym turn me too normal. If it does, it sure is time to move on.

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The Lucky

Friendship is weird. I’ve always been most comfortable in my own company, listening to the stories that all my imaginary friends were telling me. (That would be the characters in my books, by the way.)

Once in a while, someone has crossed my path in real life, and made an impact on me, though. Like, the girl I knew, who died twelve years ago. I thought we would be in each others lives forever. I thought that one of the few things I could always count on, was her smile.

Like, the girls from my band, who are no doubt my only close friends these days. We have stuck by each other through ups and downs, through boyfriends, break ups, marriage, children, games, music, ponies, death, you name it. We don’t always hang out much, but they are the ones I can relax with when we do meet once in a while. They never question who I am, or expect me to change in any way and they easily accept my horses as my children and understand how much they mean to me.

Like, the girl I grew up with, thinking of as my twin sister even if there is no biological relation between us. We just looked identical as kids and for some reason, we kept running into each other as teenagers and now, as grown ups, we still don’t have a lot in common but we do enjoy meeting up once in a while and just be twins again. Even if we look nothing alike anymore.

Then there were my equestrian friends. I always worked at the stables where my horses lived, I always made sure to smile and welcome people, because that was my job. I have had a lot of people come and go like that, some I loved talking to, some I dreaded when they showed up at the stable. Some that even became friends, outside the stable.

Once upon a time, four of us were a tight knit group, who did everything together, supported each other, showed up and helped mend the fence when it blew away in the storm, helped load the horses if they needed moving during a blizzard, slept on the pasture, waiting for the foal to be born. We shared a lot of special moments, the four of us, and even if our friendship was not without drama, most of the time, we were really good together.

Then one of us separated herself from us and we lost contact. I think I was the one who missed her the most, but I was also the one to help her cut us out of her life. We just grew apart and as much as I loved her, it had to be that way.

The three of us remained friends for a long time, until I had a falling out with one of the others. Usually, I can argue with my friends and we always work things out, but this time, I had to be the one to walk away. Once the trust was broken between us, I could see no way to keep her in my life.

Out of respect for our mutual friend, I refused to talk about what happened, because I never wanted her to feel like she had to pick sides. I was very aware that the friend I had broken contact with, would be telling our mutual friend her side of the story, but I believed that not dragging her in was the right thing to do. I believed that our friendship was strong enough to survive any bad things she might hear about me, because she knew me better than that. I believed that she was one of the few people to whom I did not have to defend myself.

For a while, that worked. We were both invited to her bachelor party and her wedding, and my x-friend and I easily smiled and pretended to be friends, so as to not cause a scene. It was not a big deal for me. We knew, all three of us, what was really going on, but no one else noticed.

For a while, our mutual friend was just that. Both her friend, and mine.

Then, her sister got married, and I was there as the photographer. While I was there, I realized that my x-friend was babysitting my friend’s child, so she could go to the wedding. That caught me by surprise, as one of the things my friend and I had always had in common was that we both felt that my x-friend was lacking empathy and basic understanding for the horses she worked with. Now, she was babysitting her child?

Alright then. A lot could have happened in the time I did not know her anymore. She could have grown up. Who knew, right?

I knew that after my friend gave birth, I had kind of kept my distance. Not because I did not want to be in her life, or meet her child, but because I figured that she had her hands full with an infant and did not need friends to come running all the time. As such, I think I have met her child twice by now. I was perfectly okay with that, thinking that she would reach out, if she could handle, or needed company. Clearly my x- friend was a huge part of her child’s life already, as she was babysitting it, and I did wonder if maybe I had not been good enough at reaching out to her.

Friendship is tricky. I always get stressed if I have friends who expect me to talk to them,  meet them, or text them all the time. But perhaps, she had needed me to? Either way, I was glad that my x-friend had managed to be there for her, if I had not.

Then her horse got sick and she texted me, because we use the same vet and she had some questions. I ended up calling her, because I was very sure of what she was going through and what was happening with her horse and I could tell that she was about ready to just give up and have it euthanized.

Now this horse is very special to me too. When my friend’s old horse was euthanized, due to cancer, I was there, crying with her on one of the worst days of her life. I found her new horse in a sales add and convinced her to go meet it, knowing full well that if she did not buy it, I would.

That was back when there was four of us, and we all went to meet this horse. To me, it did not matter if she brought it home, or if I did, as long as it got to be part of the family. And perhaps, it was a better horse for her, than for me. But still, this horse has always been special to me and I have loved watching it grow up with my friend.

I was pretty astounded that she wouldn’t even have told me that it was sick, until she was considering euthanizing it. Even more astounded that when I asked if she wanted me to be there when the vet came, she said no. My x-friend would be there, so she would not be alone if worse came to worse.

I did not comment on that. She was faced with possibly losing her horse. Who was I to throw a bitch tantrum about not being allowed to say goodbye?

But that cut deep. If there was one thing I never expected from her, it was that she would choose my x-friend over me in a situation like that. Even more, because she clearly did not even think of it as a problem. “No, you don’t need to come, she’ll be there.”

And what, we could not both be there?

Clearly not. She did make her choice, at long last, even if I had hoped that she would not have to, and even if I think she never realized that she did so. She chose that she does not need me. Or want me in her life, in a situation that really matters.

Friendship is tricky. I could fight for her now. I could tell her what happened between my x-friend and me. I could pick up the phone every day and text her. I could make myself part of her life again, and quite possibly ruin what she has with my x-friend in the process.

But I am not going to. That is not who I am. She knows that. She has known me for fifteen years.

After the vet came by, and the horse was diagnosed (exactly) as I expected, and survived, I texted her a few times, asking what had happened, but since then, I have not been able to make myself reach out to her. I guess that sometimes you just grow apart, and even friends you never thought you would lose, walk a different path than you.

And I guess I have not lost her. We are still friends. We are just not… best friends anymore. Because we have lost what mattered to me.

I’ve met a lot of new people lately, who I have loads of fun with, but it is a rare few who gets under my skin. I guess this is why. Most friendships end someday, one way or another. Sometimes it is easy to walk away. Sometimes you don’t get to choose. Sometimes you just drift apart and never realize, until one day something happens to remind you of this friend you used to have, and you smile and wonder briefly what she is doing now.

Most friendships. Then there are those who will send you a stupid gif and make you laugh for no reason, or those who will ask you to spend the night wandering the local forest, playing Pokemon Go. Those who will always be ready to watch the new My Little Pony movie, or who will suffer through hours at the gym and drink coffee with you afterwards. Those who will pick you up when your friend dies and make you go to her funeral. Friendship comes in many colors.

I guess that only time can tell, who will be in your life forever, and who won’t. And I guess I have been more than lucky with the friends I do have. I guess I have been lucky too, with the ones I used to have. No matter what the future brings, it doesn’t change the past and what we once shared. If I can look back on that, and smile, I should count myself among the lucky.

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Sparkle

I have completely fallen out of the rhythm of writing lately. I am not sure how to get back into my stories, and back to blogging regularly. My life has changed so much over the last six months.

Anyway, let’s start with the one thing I still know how to write about. My horses. Even if I am no longer part of the equestrian world and has managed to practically eliminate myself from the lives of most of my equestrian friends, my kiddos still mean the world to me.

Saleem has been driving me crazy lately. Nothing new there, I know, but he was just getting better, finding his old spirits, talking a lot, like he used to when he was young, and he even took on the role as Alpha on my pasture. I loved watching him find himself and find peace with the world like that.

And then he withdrew again, curled up like a snail who had looked out of his shell for too long, and faded. He stopped talking, he stopped following me around when I filled up the hay wheels, stopped playing with Apocalipse, stopped bullying the girls, just… stopped. He was quiet and lost weight.

Now, Saleem has a long history of different problems, and most importantly; he fractured his mandible as a two year old, and that has led to a lot of teeth problems, including two broken maulers. My vets has been amazing, as always, in supporting us and bending over backwards to help us, but this time, I was not sure what to call and tell them.

He is… sad? Right. Come and fix that, will you?

We always check his teeth twice a year, because the broken maulers easily cause trouble if they are not looked after, and as it was time for the autumn check anyway, I could at least call them about that. I was starting to suspect that something was up with his mouth as well, since he had stopped wanting apples.

Now, that might sound like alarm bells should be going off, right? Not really. My horses are not hungry, they are on a green pasture and have unlimited access to good hay all day, every day. They have no “feed instinct,” no violent need to eat everything, and all the time, like most horses who are kept in a stall, confined and restricted. Saleem, and the others, have a lot of days where they don’t even bother to show up when I distribute hay. Sometimes I have to go get them and ask them kindly to eat something, because I need to know that nopony is sick before I leave again.

My horses don’t get treats either. Apples, carrots, bread, you name it, we don’t do it. Mostly, they are not interested in it at all, but because Tardis is on medication for her cushings, we cut an apple into 5 pieces everyday, and give them all a piece; Tardis with the pill in it. If I only give Tardis, she won’t eat it. She needs to see the others eat it as well. Like I said, we are not that much into stuff like that, as a herd. But it did bug me when Saleem started refusing his apple piece completely.

Anyway, once the vet showed up and opened his mouth, she was pretty dismissive of his weight loss being a teeth issue. Clearly, it was not that bad, although we did of course make sure to take down any edge that looked potentially sharp.

We did discover a strange wound on the inside of his cheek, however. It was not teeth related, as it was placed on the part of his cheek where there are no teeth. Either he cut himself on something, like a branch, or it was one of those summersores. Actually, we have not had summersores this year, which is kind of strange, since we have been fighting them for a long time, but I mostly hoped that it was due to the horses having been moved away from the close proximity of the cows they used to live next door to.

I have never seen a summersore on the inside of the mouth, neither has my vet, but we did agree that it was best to treat him for parasites, because it did look pretty suspicious.

While he was sleeping off the sedation, and we turned to Ablaze, who needed a check up on his teeth as well, I noticed that Saleem’s penis slipped out of the foreskin.

(If you get queasy easily, you might wanna stop reading now.)

Something that looked like a piece of grass was hanging from the tip of the penis, and as I am pretty used to having boys who doesn’t exactly clean themselves as they should, (Apollon and Ablaze had/have a tendency to pee inside the foreskin,) I just reached out and tried to remove the grass. It was pretty stuck. Naturally, I had to find out why, and my vet was with me instantly, clearly keeping an eye on what I was doing. We discovered something that looked like tumor-like tissue, next to his urethra, inside the tip of the penis.

My vet instantly took over the examination, while I talked to Saleem, asking him to hold still. As much as he was sedated, he was not sure he liked what she was doing to his penis. Although he will never admit it, he was not sure he hated it either.

Luckily, it turned out not to be a tumor.

Horrifyingly, it turned out to be a 5 x 10 cm huge clump of … ick… that had gathered inside the tip of his penis, because clearly he is not keeping himself clean as he should.

I was stunned. So was my vet. I have never, ever, seen anything like it. Poor Saleem. That cannot have been painless to walk around with.

My vet was as surprised as I was, but she seemed to be pretty calm about it. She just told me to remember that we check his penis every time we check his teeth, so it won’t happen again.

Damn right, it won’t. I am not likely to forget this, ever.

Saleem has been much happier since the vet was by. He is talking again, he is following me when I fill up the hay wheels, he is pushing Tardis around… All in all, he got his sparkle back.

I have no idea if it was the wound in his mouth, the thing in his penis, or just generally his annoying teeth, but what ever it was, seems to be gone now, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that he will gain some weight again soon.

I guess I’ll stop the post here, by showing Ablaze’s last baby tooth.

I have had 12 horses of my own, and this is the only tooth I have managed to get. To be fair, it had to be removed anyway. It refused to come out on its own. I have been poking it for two months now, and the new tooth was starting to grow too much to the side, because the old one would not move, so my vet agreed to remove it. It somehow seems fitting that I have a tooth, at long last, from my forever-foal.

And in the end, here is a picture of the gang. Saleem, Tardis and Ablaze are sedated, Apocalipse and Marble are sympathy- sleeping. We do everything as a team on my pasture. If one sleeps, we all sleeps. Except for the second – in – command. Apocalipse is keeping an eye on the camera, because the Alpha and the Beta is sleeping. Someone has to look up and see what the crazy human is doing. Look up, not wake up.

And yes, I asked Marble to stay outside while the vet was working on the others. Apocalipse was with us all the way. He is so easy; if he gets too curious, you just ask him to please take a step back and let the vet work. He responds to my voice so perfectly, one would easily believe he understands the words I am saying. Marble, on the other hand, tends to get a little pushy, especially when we work on Ablaze. She is very protective of him, but luckily she respects when I ask her to please stay on the other side of the door. You can look in, but don’t come in.

I have never had a more prefect gang of horses. They are so amazingly good together.

Now, if only they would stay happy and healthy and well… keep their sparkle all the time. That would be amazing.

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Torchlight

I think I managed to not even mention on my blog, that my new book was published last month. Well done, V.

Anyway, book four in the Legacy Series; Torchlight, is out now! Check out the e-book on Amazon;

Drawn across the universe by a mysterious light, Lace leads his siblings headfirst into a conflict with the Lightbringer and her army, as she aims to take over the universe.

As book four in the Legacy series, Torchlight introduces the child born to Naim and Willkataga, a witch who rivals Lace in magical ability, but who furthermore possesses the psychic abilities of Islaeen’s bloodline.

Lines are drawn across space and time, as Lace is slowly guided by the Hand of Fate, unable to escape fighting.

I have the paperback out as well, so here they are, all four of them;

Link to the paperback;

http://www.lulu.com/shop/veronica-merlin/torchlight-the-legacy-series/paperback/product-23358708.html

Yes, my camera died during Gishwhes, so this is a cellphone shot. Works pretty well, though… Don’t let me have a lamp like this… I will do stupid pictures, just because I can. Even without photoshop or a camera…

The Starstone Series;

My three other books; (yes, thats a Rainbow Dash.)

I haven’t written a lot lately. I still look at my books and wonder how I managed to write all this. To create worlds like these ones. How I am ever going to end the last book in the Legacy Series. Which is probably why I am not writing much. I don’t want them to end.

Oh, and not forgetting Noel’s poetry collection, by the way. I still love that one, and I usually include it when I take pictures of my own books…

I love the difference in our covers. It perfectly displays the difference in how we write and think. We should pick up that book we are writing together again… I loved how she would challenge me. Sometimes it is just so hard to find time for everything.

 

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Silver Lining

I had this weird kind of day at the beginning of the week. I was home alone because of the boyfriend’s new job, so I went to the stable at 6 am and fed the kiddos, before I went to the gym at 7. I know, obsessive much? Sure. But this particular gym was actually not too far from the church where my childhood friend was buried, and for some reason, I decided to go see her that day, for the first time since the funeral.

It has been 12 years, and I have come up with a thousand excuses not to go back to that grave over the years, but I just felt numb that day. Calm. Like nothing could get to me. I was alone. Once the horses and the gym was done, I had the rest of the day off. Why not go?

It was pouring down rain, and in the past, I have used that as an excuse not to go, because I only have my scooter, and I will be soaked to the bone before I get there, but on this day, it kind of felt right. I was not supposed to go to her grave in sunlight. It was supposed to rain. Also, the rain might keep people away, ensuring that I’d be alone at the graveside.

I haven’t seen her grave since the funeral. Back then, everything was covered in snow, and during the last 12 years, a lot has changed at the grave yard. Still, I knew just where to find her. As much as I was crying when we buried her, I clearly still picked up on where it was.

I’m not sure how you are supposed to feel, sitting by a tombstone in the pouring rain, staring at a cold rock, with the name of someone who meant the world to you, knowing that underneath the ground, her body is decaying. I have no idea how people deal with that.

I have been told, by a lot of my friends over the years, that if I would just go to her grave, and say goodbye, I’d feel better.

I have no idea how people do that.

How do you say goodbye? The truth is, I never got to say goodbye, and it will always be too late now. I can come by her grave every single day from now on and until I die, and I will never get to say goodbye. And I will never accept that she was so alone that she saw no future for her, at all. I will never forgive me, for failing her like that.

I know that I am not recovering, because I don’t want to. I feel like I have no right to. She is not going to get better, is she? Why should I?

Still, it did feel kind of peaceful, sitting by her grave in the pouring rain and I am probably coming back someday, even if I am not sure why.

Later in the day, as I was working on the cover art for my new book, I got a call from the guy that owns my stable, saying “I’m not home, but my wife just called and said the horses has run away. Do you want her number?”

No. I’m on my way.

I was so calm. It was almost scary. I just got my scooter out and drove.

Usually, in the past when the kiddos has run off, (horses do that once in a while,) I’ve been terrified, imagining all kinds of scenarios, where they have ended up on the roof of a car, dying, and killing the driver, and you name it, I’ve imagined it a thousand times over on my way to the stable in situations like this.

I didn’t feel a thing as I parked my scooter and went around to pick up some halters from my locker, finding one of my gates opened and yes, the pasture horribly empty.

Okay, so this is how today is turning out. I am hunting horses. Again.

I’ve done that so many times, with my own or other people’s horses, over the years, but still. This is my babies, I love them more than anything. How was I not terrified?

The woman who owned my stable called me and said that she was with 4 other girls and that they had found tracks and was following them over the fields. I started walking in the direction they told me and while I was in the middle of no where, one of the local farmers called me.

“Hey, are you missing 5 horses?”

“Yes?”

“I have them.”

I never fail to be amazed by how people step up in situations like this. Turns out, my gang had been kind of terrified to be away from home, and they had wandered out of the open gate, spooking each other out of the drive way, until they reached the road, where they had turned, and tried to go back to their pasture, unable to find a way back through the fence. In the end, they had run along the fields, and had ended up 3 km away from home, luckily with a girl who has horses of her own, so she had put a halter on the “small and fat one” thinking that it might be the easiest one to handle, and while leading Tardis into an empty pasture of hers, the others had followed.

Well, she got one thing right. Tardis was the right horse to pick, since the is the Beta mare. Where she goes, the others go. As for being small and fat… That usually means hot temper and strong character but never mind… My babies were safe and all I had to worry about was getting them home again.

Within 10 minutes, I was met by 6 girls from local farms, including the woman who owns my place, (who know nothing of how to handle horses and is pretty scared of them,) and we set out to walk them home. One of them even volunteered to handle Marble, even though I told her that she was prone to throwing hissyfits.

I got to handle Ablaze, which was probably for the best, since he might be 4 years old, but he is not tame and not used to being walked on the road, or led by a halter. Saleem and Marble took the lead, Tardis and Ablaze was in the middle, (keeping Ablaze shielded from cars) and Apocalipse walked behind us. The lady who owns my stable said that she could walk him, and even though she was clearly terrified, she womaned up and walked Apocalipse, (the biggest horse on my pasture) all the way home.

Apocalipse is usually not that easy to handle, to be honest. When ever I have been walking him on the road, he has spooked over cars, jumped around like the ground was lava and in general acted very much like a drama queen, but he took one look at this little human and I could just see him deciding that he liked her and that he was going to help her out.

He was an angel, all the way home, making very sure not to scare her, reminding me so much of his mother. Amalia was like that too. As much as she would try to kill me if we disagreed on something, just as careful was she with children or nervous humans. He sure has her spirits.

I was so proud of all 5 of them, but Apocalipse most of all. This was a very stressful situation for them, being away from home, all of them covered in sweat, and having to trust and follow some humans they did not know, because I could only be there to lead one of them.

Once we did get home, they all flocked around me and I spent almost an hour, hugging them, because they just wouldn’t let me out of their sights. As much as they were able to walk home with another human, they clearly still needed me to tell them that everything was alright in the end.

I got them settled in though, and I was able to make them go eat hay, rather than hang over me, which led me to the most important question of the day; how did the gate open?

It has two locks on it, one top and one bottom. The top lock, they might be able to push open if they use the gate for scratching their necks or something, but the bottom… No way they could open that one. It had to have been opened by hand. I couldn’t even force it closed again. (Back to the gym, weak little human…)

It turned out that the children that lives at the stable had had a friend visiting and while the children know not to enter the horses pasture, this friend had done so, because she “knew horses.” She had opened the gate, and had been unable to close it again, except for the top lock. And well, by accident, the horses must have opened that one…

I wasn’t even angry. Fuck it, really. Nothing happened. They all came home safe and sound, and no cars were killed. Truth be told, I was relieved.

Children do stupid things, because they don’t think of the consequences. She thought the gate was closed, and that the bottom lock was unimportant. She knows now, not to do that again. This is a much, much better scenario than what I was imagining.

When I found my gate opened, I was terrified that someone, some stranger, had opened it. That, I cannot fight. Strangers, doing things like that, I cannot keep my horses safe from that.

One of the stables I ran in the past, had a problem with someone cutting our fence down two, three times a week. How do you fight that? How do you stop that? The fence was electrified, he brought isolated cutters to do it, specifically to let the horses out on the road. That is such a hopeless situation to be in, I don’t have words for it, and just imagining that someone would have opened my gate, was terrible.

So, I told the owners of my stable not to be angry at the kid. Really. We are good. No harm done.

And then I realized that I had signed up for going to zumba in the evening, and since my gym has a  policy of not allowing you to resign from classes two hours before the classes start, I was already late.

Great. While walking home, Ablaze and I had spooked over a car, and I had torn a ligament in my pelvic. I was pretty much unable to place any weight on my left leg, but since I had this strange day where I didn’t care much about anything, I went to zumba anyway. And I actually made it through the hour, mostly by mirroring the choreographies. Turns out, this instructor has most of his jumps on the left leg, so it was pretty easy to just do it on the right instead and I am clearly so terrible at zumba in general that he didn’t even notice. Fantastic.

I spent the rest of the evening sitting on the gym floor with some of the others, after zumba, wondering if it was going to hit me at some point. I could have lost everything that mattered to me, in the blink of an eye today, with all 5 of my horses running away. How was I not reacting? How was I not telling the others, in dramatic detail, what had happened? Because they wouldn’t care? Because I keep things to myself, so much that I don’t even care?

Because sometimes you care too much? So much, in fact, so you detach yourself in order to keep going?

Anyway, we nailed the gates shut now, so my pasture can’t be opened anymore. Hopefully I’ll never need to get those horses out of that pasture, ever again. Hopefully, they will stay put and no other kids will think they “got this.”

And finding them waiting for me the next day, I will say, was the best feeling ever.

Apocalipse and Saleem has hardly left the main house since they came home.

Tardis and Marble has become really good friends and are even able to share the “girls house” now.

That only took them 5 years. Maybe this little trip was good for them. Brought them closer to each other somehow.

Everything has a silver lining, I guess. You just have to want to look for it to find it.

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