Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Stubby Pony

The others all rushed ahead, looking back at her with gloating. Sara cantered quietly on her fat, ungainly pony. She was not that far behind, and couldn't figure what they had to gloat about. She had not tried to be first, furthermore did not want to be first. Being first must be fought for with undignified pushing. By contrast, the last one in the group could take more time to notice things.

Cinderella could not help that she had a broad build and short, stubby legs. She was a reliable horse full of good sense, and that was all Sara cared about.

Their daily group rides were always the same: rich kids on fast, long-legged horses fought each other for the lead. The trail was crowded near the front, sparse at the rear. Sara and Cinderella paused to nibble berries and clover (respectively), still able to catch up with ease.

Pretty soon the rich kids began noticing Sara's complete antipathy toward them. They began calling her names and insulting her pony, sometimes even slowing down to make sure she could hear them. Sara, however, was gifted. She could tune them out completely or act like their words never registered. Her mind was so full of flowers and meanderings that she had no room for their boring words.

One day someone threw a rock at her horse. It bounced off the hindquarters, but the reliable pony only sidestepped a little and continued.

Several now began to bedeck their steeds in rhinestone breast collars and embroidered saddle blankets, but Sara still paid them no mind. She rode with the group, happy in their company though excluded from their highest circles.

Kids that were not able to be first or had tried and failed at it began keeping their ponies with Sara. She didn't like crowds but understood why they did this. It was too beautiful to ignore the sunlight on the leaves, which could be glimpsed but not soaked in when one goes fast.

The rich kids could not make her jealous on any level; she simply did not want what they had. They could make her sad, lonely, or hurt, but they could never force Sara to be truly and genuinely envious.

After several weeks most of them slowed down. The few that hogged the front no longer had to fight for it. The last place was now coveted, and some started arguing about who would get to ride there.

Sara moved her horse to the middle. It was quieter. The stops for clover came less often, but it was a small price to pay for breathing space.

I could say that one day all the flighty ponies scampered, throwing their riders. I could say that the avalanche of baseball sized rocks left several on the ground, and that the remaining riders, including Sara, went for help. I could say her patience, which seeped into everyone else, made her and others into heroes.

I could say it, but modesty forbids.

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