A Memory

May 9, 2011
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The sun dances on our faces, and paints patterns on the road. It’s a blank canvas day, the kind you want to grab with your two hands and make it into something new and beautiful, those spring days that are anything you want them to be; a song, a gift, a smile. The sound of our feet, my two and three sets of four patter on the road, the clip-clop of my ponies’ hooves make the trees that are flaunting their new leaves shudder.

I turn to smile at my brother, and he smiles back from his perch on high, on top of my beautiful white pony. A shock of black fur bursts from the bushes, all wagging tail and doggy smile. Suzy, the pony I am leading, gravitates towards and especially juicy looking shot of grass, yanking me with her, and I stumble. Laughter.

We reach the gateway, and we all stand. Six ears pricked; two sets of pony ears and one set dog. The lake is picture perfect, strikingly posed with sail boats and shimmering blue. The sky is crisp azure, the clouds light, cotton wool. The gate to the field is open and the call of the lush expanse of spring grass falls on pony ears. I tense. Suzy breaks free from my feeble human grasp, and the spell is broken.

No! This is not our field, Suzy! We’re here for the view, this is my day, don’t snatch it away. In my mind, the owner of the field is already here, pointing at the kicked up turf, shouting. “Your fault, all your fault.”

But, through my eyes I can see the lake. I see the hill and the field, and my silly little pony, a blob of white now distant, galloping wild like ponies should.

“Catch her!” Now my brother is yelling. He is off my horse now, thrusting the reins at me. “Take Alice,” he says, “Round up Suzy.”

I shouldn’t, that I know. It is risky, what if the owner of the field comes? I can’t be seen riding here. It’s not my land. Yet I need to catch Suzy. But I’m not wearing my helmet. Run, just run after her, I tell myself. That’s what you should do. Run after her.

And now I’m on Alice’s back, her strong body beneath me, muscular and true. We are one. I urge her into the forbidden field, and united, we fly. We soar; we are a cheetah, a rocket, Red Rum. We are a bird, we are a plane. We are a girl and a horse, galloping and trespassing, and you can’t catch us. We are untouchable. My hair is a banner flying behind us, no helmet and there is wind in my ears. We are on the runway, about to take off, and fly anywhere we want in the world. The crowd goes wild as we leave the other racehorses in the dust, and now we’re in the winner’s circle, smothered in flowers. Then, we’re galloping along the shore; the white horse sea foam is beaten by the hooves of this white horse. We are the rhythm of my favourite song, we are a heart beat. We are whatever we want to be. A shriek escapes my mouth, a sound of pure exhilaration. How I love to fly.

Suzy is grazing peacefully in the corner of the field as Alice and I reach her, grinding to a sudden halt. She sees us and snorts explosively, plodding over to us. I’m sure she was smiling, and if she could speak, she would have uttered the words, “You got me.” I smile down at her, endeared by her naughtiness and relieved to have got her back safely. With rapture, I turn to grin at my brother at the top of the field. We are jubilant.

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