OR LOOSE BOX, RATHER I was running late on Tuesday, stupid second bus blew right by and I had to wait another fifteen minutes for the next one to take me across the river, to Nassau Street, to the walk to the LUAS, further delay caused by some poxy tourist buying tram tickets one by one with a credit card — I felt a wave of the same kind of crazy that caused me to lose The Amazing and Magical Stick of Wonder; I gripped my whip tightly and breathed in through the nose, out through the mouth…

Well, I got there. I always do.

It’s just that I don’t have the time that I used to have to haunt the barn, and I miss that, the roaming around, talking to the horses, being ignored by the ponies, helping tack. I strode up the slope to the barn and as I turned, in through the doorway, I heard a horse call out, I wondered who was hollering about what, I looked up the aisle and saw — and saw!

I ran a few steps and then reconsidered the wisdom of running through a barn. But there it was! That face! Star gleaming in the lowering gloom! Ears tweaked inquisitively!

Rebel was back!

Wait — but — was it? Was it Himself? I caught myself mid-glee. ‘Hey, ponyface?’ I uptalked. ‘Reb?’

I ran my hand down his face. He took it for a bit, and then swung his head up and over mine, ensuring that he knocked me on the top of the hat as he did so.

Yup. Was him to be sure. I beamed up at his impassive snout. He was back.

It’s been a week now, and he’s not back in the school yet… not sure I want to be the first to take him out… but miss him I did. I feel better: in his absence I got back into the groove with Delilah, and am tackling Tango, so I’ve got three horses, all of a sudden, that I can take without — well, with qualm, but one out of three ain’t bad.

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