Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Microstory 872: Equipathy

My mother grew up on a farm, and had two horses when she was younger. I can’t recall their names, but I remember her telling me stories of them getting to know each other, and about all the shenanigans they would get into together. I’ve always loved horses, even though boys are supposed to be more into monster trucks, and...like, blowing stuff up, I guess. I hate big cities. They’re noisy and there are too many people, and you can’t see the stars. I don’t much like the country either, though. Everything is too spread out, and it takes too long to get places. I much prefer the suburbs, which is where my family lives now. The only thing I don’t like about it is that I can’t keep a horse. If our backyard had access to some extra spatial dimension that would add acres and acres of space, I would have asked for a horse a long time ago. It’s my sixteenth birthday, and instead of getting me a car, though, my parents finally fulfill my most precious dream. They buy me a horse, which I didn’t think was possible. As it turns out, if you head due East, which I never do, because there’s nothing there, then you don’t have to drive very far before reaching more open land. On the very edge of town is a little farm apparently known for taking in stray animals of all kinds. Pigs, ducks, llamas, goats, dogs, cats, and of course, my wonderful horses. The owner agreed to keep my new horse on his property, and charge me discounted stable fees. I can go ride and take care of him whenever I want, but I have to be able to do it often, because he’s now my responsibility. I’ve also been asked to spend a little extra time helping out with the other animals. I agree to this deal completely, because why wouldn’t I?

I try to name my new horse Satchel, but I immediately get the feeling that he doesn’t like that, and prefers to be called Estenavorissegabaladon, which he claims means flying water in his language. I don’t know why I made up that word in my head; I’m not a particularly creative individual. I’ve always been better at math; real math, by the way, not this new math. After some coaxing—fully aware that I’m not actually communicating with an animal—he agrees to let me shorten his name to Tenavori. I start off slowly with him, but even though I’ve only ever ridden on a few family vacations, he makes me feel like an expert. We’re completely in sync that it’s almost like I don’t have to do anything. He’s leading the way, and I’m just along for the ride. You’re gonna have to buy me a few more carrots for a real ride, he says. But he doesn’t say it. He sends the thought straight to my brain. But he can’t have done that either, because that’s ridiculous, he’s a horse. Then he says, a horse is a horse, of course, of course, and no one can talk to a horse, of course; that is, of course, unless the horse is me, bitch! What the hell is going on? I don’t say that word, so why am I thinking it? I don’t know that you can think at all, Tenavori says with a laugh, and I see snot shoot out of his nose. Okay, that’s freaky. “Can you understand me?” I ask. If you’re trying to talk to me, don’t say it out loud, he instructs me. I basically hear feedback and static. Just...think it. I stay quiet, and try to project my thoughts. He starts dancing according to my instructions, to outwardly prove that he’s the real deal. To the left, take it back now y'all. One hop this time, right foot, let’s stomp. Left foot, let’s stomp. Cha cha, real smooth. Turn it out, to the left. Oh my God, this horse is even better than I thought. We do a little bit more funky dressage before I decide it’s time do what horses and riders do best. We start racing over the prairie, and through the woods. For a moment, he’s going so fast, it almost looks like he’s running over the river. All the while, we talk. I complain about high school, and he tells me about how horseshoes actually do hurt, but he knows it’s all just in his head. It is the greatest feeling in the world. I’ve never been able to make good friends with humans, and now I don’t have to anymore. It’s getting late, and I have to go back home. But tomorrow, we ride again, headed due East...and we’re never coming back.

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