A Dangerous Ride

Remembering, what it was like to run quickly through a sticky blur of green and brown. Sticky, due to the heat, the humidity, everything was wet. In the heat of the moment. My hair flew around me and blurred my vision, blonde, in my eyes. Chatter. We spoke idly about men, and appearance, and we spoke icily about the witch. Looming ahead, we pulled the reins. “Woah, easy.” Stomp, tossing her head, blowing steam through her nose. Little rear. Little rear. Little rear. Smack. “Cheyenne, knock it off.” I can feel the excitement inside of her body, tight like a knot, pulling back on the reins, she has to wait, but she’s excited. Wants to run. Finally, I loosen the reins, and kick with one leg. Go. An explosion. Smudges of brown, like wheat, and like wood, and the blur of green and brown from the trees and the dirt, “cluck, cluck.” Pass Cody. “cluck cluck,” pass Blossom. I am in front, we are the leaders. Fuzzy ears perk up, she’s the leader of the herd, her instincts start buzzing as she tosses her head and bucks, not out of spite, but out of joy. The freedom of a canter. Boom, boom, boom. Each time her hooves hit the ground sparks fly up and the wind rushes like a storm past my ears. Cody, a flash of out of control white and Blossom a graceful yet giant shadow of black, fly behind us, they can’t keep up. We are the winner, we’re flying. Faster than sound, and light, and faster than words, and my body is one with hers. Galloping, Cheyenne’s ears fly forward and she jumps in the air, whizzing to the left. “Easy girl, just a groundhog.” Bang. She lands, thump, snort, I thud onto her back and urge her forward. Lean my body forward. Western Saddle. Synthetic, not leather. Not fake, not real. The out of control flash of white passes us, and before we can start running again as one, the white horse and rider pull to a halt. They flew in front of us. Fire for hair on the rider. We’ve reached the road. Cody flicks his tail and tosses his head, he’s proud, he’s gorgeous, an Arab with an Arabian heart. Cheyenne’s ears are plastered back onto her head, moody mare, competitive mare, second place. Blossom, thunders up behind us, stopping without a reaction. spunk less horse. No personality? Old. Joanne, with hair of fire and face of freckles kicks the Cody and traipses forward, followed by Cheyenne with her goldy-locks rider, and Blossom with her novice. Tripity, flop, tripity flop, scatter. Tripity, flop, tripity, flop, scatter. Cody’s uncoordinated and spooky trot, gliding over the pavement. Hard under their feet. Cheyenne tapity, tap, tap’s with her feminine legs and Blossom tromp, tromps behind, her huge draft legs reluctant and deliberate. I see the street, cars whizzing by, I see them swerving to the side and colliding with Cheyenne, with Cody, with Blossom, with Joanne, with Kyrie, with me. I see blood, I hear pain, I see pain, but I can’t feel pain. All of my friends. My family. I love you guys, don’t leave me. In a second, I am pulled back to reality. A girl with twizzler curls and a spoiled smile, no more than four, runs up to us. Pets the horses. Yeah, I know, they’re beautiful, anyways. As we trot over the road, it’s my turn to feel tight. Cheyenne, feels my fear, becomes anxious. Exploding in my chest, I feel scared, but can’t show my fear, in case I seem weak. Walking past places we’ve trotted by millions of times, but each time a new experience. To the right, safety. The glass creek, deep, rocky, confident. However we go forward, onto the unforgiving and moral less road, full of memories, and full of the indents of tires from cars carrying sinners. The cars, whoosh past, so fast, so rapid, it makes me dizzy. Cody and Cheyenne, feet stomping, impatient, while blossom stands, head low to the ground, thoughts lost to the past, feeling, nothing, feeling pain. A break in the traffic, Joanne, the oldest, most confident, most experienced rider, with most out of control horse, walks forward, followed by me, followed by Blossom. Tripity, flop, tripity flop, scatter. Tripity, flop, tripity, flop, scatter. Cody Crosses, waits, head tossing, on the other side, in the green. tapity, tap, tap. Cheyenne crosses, waits, snorting, pawing on the brown, on the dirt, waits for Blossom. Tromp, tromp. Blossom crosses, stands- motionless, behind Cheyenne and Cody. Cody walks forward, ears perked up- new surroundings, twelve years of experience have done nothing to this maniac, he is still a colt at heart, ready to detonate, fly into a rage, not afraid to hurt. Cheyenne follows, ears twitching- everything is new to her, still a child, yet also an adult, like her rider, experienced too much for her age. Eight years, have done everything and also nothing, she is confident and also needs guidance. Her rider is the same way. Blossom follows, ears not forward, nothing is new. Nothing is interesting, eyes dead, old horse. Twenty-two years of abuse, have broken her soul, but Kyrie wants to fix it. We are on a thin path, never been this way before, realize how dumb this was, why did we take this path? No, that’s not true. Cody was here, the year before, with Foster. Foster, always forgiving and angry. But twenty nine years took their toll, and Foster’s feet don’t grace the park with their soft, thud, thud, stumble, any more. To the right, green, a thick embracing, unforgiving green. To the left, a sharp, a knife, a stabbing fear. One wrong step, and death, or pain, one wrong step and life, as you knew it, gone forever- to the right, a cliff, into darkness, into light, into sharp, painful, cold, water. “Woah.” Cody stops, listening to Joanne, Cheyenne instinctively waits, flicking her tail expectantly. Blossom, looks forward, more walking, big sigh. In front of us a tree fell, how long ago? Cut, sharp, pointy, brown edges. Could cut into us, could cut into the horse, one wrong step, pain? Someone cut the tree, to make room on the path, but they didn’t do a good job- the younger horses snort, Cheyenne, paws the dirt, waiting… Joanne, confidently takes the lead, foolishly. We are all foolish about our riding, never take precautions, never run slowly. Cody, inspects the tree, cut in half, snorting, walks past it. The dumb horse spooks, sideswiping the tree, eyes getting big, three seconds becoming minutes. EXPLODING. Cody bucks, bucks, bucks, bucks, bucks, “CODY!” Joanne, yells! The horse, bucks, dangerously close to the horrific edge of the cliff, getting closer with each buck. “CODY!” Kyrie yells, I yell. Joanne falls, hitting the ground with a THUD, Cody, still exploding, Joanne- a heap, on the ground..bones shatter, ankle shatters, helmet shatters. Oh. My. God. Is her body broken? Cheyenne, nervous, tense, her whole body, should she follow Cody’s reaction? Should she be afraid of whatever he was afraid of? Youthful Cody, and youthful Cheyenne, and mature Blossom. Fear scratching at my insides, making them bleed. Eyes, stretched wide. Urging Cheyenne forward, walking over to Joanne. “Are you okay?” hands shaking, whole body shaking, insides, shaking. Dismounting Cheyenne, relief as Joanne rolls over. “Call Jerry.” She’s alive, all that matters. Call Aileen. Call Chris. Call mom. Call Lynn. Call Jason. Tying the reins on the horn of Cheyenne’s saddle, she drops her head munching on the green grass, her eyes dart back and forth nervously. I walk away, grab Cody, idiot, broke his reins. Narrow, grassy path, too close to the cliff. Joanne, creaking and moaning like a dying tree, stands up with her arm on my shoulder. She leads Cheyenne, the nervous, the beautiful horse. I lead Cody, the psychotic, the exploding horse. Still snorting from the excitement, a hard, boyish, fearful snort. Different from Cheyennes’ a blur of color and fear and almost falling. We get back to the road. The cars, still unforgiving, have no mercy. After all of us, now walking, our feet matching the rhythmic tap of our horses’, cross the street, Jerry pulls up. White van. Joanne’s husband. Strong, helpful. Funny. Relief, washing through me. Clearing my body, with a cool, blue rush. I am no longer the adult, the situation is no longer mine to fix. Puff. Puff. Puff. Albuterol, clears my system. I can breathe, light headed, I can breathe. Dark, brown, eyes stare at me under a brown sugared forelock. Cheyenne, pulls me to her. Jumping up, Kyrie- me and Kyrie- return back to the barn, ponying Cody. Cheyenne’s body, tense- personality showing- tail flicking, colors twirl around us for the duration of the ride. Youthful moody mare. Jumping around, scared to death, white showing, eyes darting back and forth. F-e-a-r, rolling through her body, sending waves up to her brain, making her crazy. This, will, end, with, age. Blossom, flopping home, eyes dead. I would rather have, a slightly crazy horse, CODY- CHEYENNE- than an almost dead horse, like Blossom. Slam. Darkness. Light?





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