Six years to the day after graduating college, I was jobless and crawling under a house.I had a 200 dollar horse that had better documentation on her bloodline than I do, and she was about to go berserk.I was not thinking about this at the time, I was trying to understand why,after four weeks of putting in, and crawling under 2×10 joists,that my ass still didn’t know how to get down. It seemed every third joist would hit just above my tailbone, while my face was inches away from the long hidden Tennessee clay.
Outside, and away from the dark hole under the house, Daisy, my 16 hand tall paint horse, was tied lovingly to a tire, because she needed to be free enough to eat grass, but tethered enough so as not to skewer herself upon a fence post of one type or another, be it metal, or picket. Her personal motto seemed to be, “Give me Liberty, or give Me Death”.Truly, a well bred American horse.
The Zeka Virus was threatening to run rampant, turning all of the brightly lit future children of my fantasies into daunting microcephalistic shadows, and allowing for my fiance’ and I to have the “It’ll be okay.” conversation. It seemed quite hectic, since we lived in a cesspool of the “moh-skeeters” by a fake lake, and since it was clear at this time, that I was not to be a career woman, now this virus was threatening the “baby making” aspect of my sex that I had felt I could fall back on to earn self esteem. Three or four well timed mosquito bites could put my eggs on the other side of DONE. I thought, as I lifted a 30 pound sledgehammer to wedge a joist into place, several tons of handmade house over my head,my torn shoulder ligaments screaming,”I am so dumb. I need to be smarter about how I do things.”
As lunch wore around, I dragged myself up from the underworld, and stripped out of a heavy coverall that was four sizes too big. I walked stiffly down through the sunny hay field, to my tethered horse. She still stood where I had set her earlier that morning, so she had not chosen to move the tire, I thought. I moved her, dragging the tire behind to the shade, and her companion,Kemo, my dad’s horse and a royal pain in the ass, followed behind in a droopy headed walk, truly mourning her friend’s imprisonment. It occurred to me that, perhaps, we may have found a solution for Daisy to be outside of the dusty corral. I walked a bit more cheerfully back to the house to contemplate how I would save my summer, and my remaining weeks of freedom before having to find another job, from the house that eternally eats hours.
Horses run for many reasons. Some horses run themselves for exercise, and some run only to the feed box.Most horses that I have seen will not run full out, unless they are running away from something, or running toward something in order to murder it with vengeful hooves. They are beautiful, and passionate, when they run like this.
Daisy stayed in the shade long enough for lunch to be over. As I cleared the dishes, I saw her there skimming through the tall grass in a fury, her tail up, and streaming behind her.
“Oh,” I thought initially, “she has figured out she can move the tire.”
Then, a break in the grass revealed that, amazingly,the tire was upright and actually rolling after her, and this was actually scaring her enough to run for her life.
She covered acres in a matter of seconds, made two loops of the field, and was not stopping.
At this pace, she could easily snag the tire on anything, tangle her legs in the rope,break her leg, her neck, die, DIe DIE, she could die. Shit.
I shoved the storm door open, rushing out to the field.I called her, screamed whoa, which was a fool’s errand, I knew,as she rushed past, then got into the truck as my dad tore the teeth out of the flywheel starting the Chevy.
We rushed after her and Kemo. They headed for the barn, and a woodsy area behind through a small opening in an old fence.Just as wide as the truck. They headed in, we pulled close.Like the old Westerns “Cut them off at the pass.”
Watching through the windshield, they looped around, and back they came, both horses. Daisy, frothing at the mouth,the legs, eyes wide, Kemo, whipped into a frenzy by the desperation, both horses alive, thundering, toward the bottleneck and a 1976 Chevy. I froze, Dad froze, and the horses weren’t stopping.
“They have to stop.” I said.
They weren’t stopping.
“Legs, oh shit, it’s over”I thought, “They’re gonna break their legs.”
The horses split, Kemo to the driver side, Daisy to mine, silent, like dolphins skimming the sides of a boat.”Bread and butter.” They used to say. The tire caught, and the rope broke.I turned to see the girls out the back window. They kept running, but slower now, the frenzy was over.
I started breathing again.