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?”
“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.