Story on What Matters

October 27, 2007
By
Story on What Matters

I was five when Sally-Evans ran around me in circles, whip in hand and cackle on lips. "Nana, she can't ride a pony," she would shout, hands cupped around her laughing mouth, and her voice would fill the stretches of azure running along the skies, and the stretches of crimson running along my heart. Nana would hush her, and I would crawl into the hay by her door, endeavouring to conceal myself from her taunting gaze.

Perta, my twin, never had to bear the torment of the sarcasm I was subjected to; her hair was wild as her gait, and she swam better than Sally-Evans herself. Parallels ran high: no one drew comparisons between the two of us, and yet they were drawn, everywhere and by everyone. She was five, and she could ride. I was five - and I was lame.

My surroundings were wild; very wild. Tall blades of grass would shine through the dismal gloom in sable nights, stars etched the grounds of unlit skies, and Elo Jone, Nana's mahogany horse, would chase me across bands of brilliant grey: thorns would run through my feet as I struggled to escape, until Nana would see and come to my rescue.

Elo Jone received little punishment, for I was not really considered a part of the family. Rather, I was the stain on six generations of riders of excellence and, without ever saying it, Uncle Joseph and Aunt Rye disowned me. Papa and mama had no say.

The incessant sarcasm and unstemmed suffering finally got to me. I ended up doing what no one else in the family had ever dared to do: I left Nana's farm, left Elo Jone, and I left the ponies and the hay. I travelled to the city, twenty two miles on aching feet and dew of the grass, the dust of the road rich in my breath, and cores of orange sunsets presiding over my fate. Nothing could take the pain away - until something came and did exactly that.

For, ten years later, I had a degree in my hands, and shoes on my feet. Education had won over; my past was past at last, unremembered in the scent of metal in fire and burning oxygen. Chemicals became a passion. The laboratory was my own, built through legs that had taken weeks of agony to roar to life from breathing death, and flights of imagination that had found their reality in perfume of hard work and unsaid labour. I met Sally-Evans, and she was silent, and I met Nana, and he was silent; and there were Uncle Joseph and Aunt Rye, too, and they were quieter than the rest of the farm put together. I met Sera di Anne and she - the pride of Perta's eyes, the owner of Nana's joys; the mare who raced fastest, who overshadowed every other horse and mare on the farm alike - she placed her head in my lap, and beads of sweat no longer trickled down my face. It was tears this time, and they died, dissolving into the pink of my lips.

I had broken away, broken away from six generations of tradition. I had made a name for myself, and chemicals loved me as much as I loved them. I had paved my own way, and left behind my own trail. I had dared to be the black sheep, the one to follow the path that no one else in my family had taken. Above all, I had stepped out of my shell to accept myself when no other did, to be me; me, and no one else - and that was mattered.

The stars were out, and so was the moon but, most importantly, the sun had come down to settle itself in my heart.





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