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June 20, 2007

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Sherry

What was I thinking? Who the hell did I think I was kidding? Was I high on hallucinogenics when I agreed to do this. I thought I was going to vomit. In fact, I was sure of it. It was so hot, so heavy laden hot. Not the kind of regular summer hot -- but the kind that smells, tastes and feels hot as soon as you walk out of the door hoping for that morning fresh air. It made me want to vomit even more. My upper lip was already dewy wet and this was not a good sign for the day.

I never minded the smell of horse manure until this day -- after all, as my daddy always says, “horse manure smells like money.” Not today -- it smelled rank and putrid and suffocating and what the hell was I thinking when I agreed to this level of competition.

Riding horses was almost second nature to me -- it came right after breathing and just before eating. I had ridden all my life missing only a few days due to family affairs and holidays and inclement weather. And in my heart, life without a horse just wasn’t possible. I started as a kid riding in the local shows and moved my way along the show bridle path...through the years -- better rides, better trainers, better movers, better jumpers. All strings woven neatly and intricately to this path.

I walked down the barn aisle looking into each 12 x 12 stall. Each big huge head that stuck out as I slowly inched my way down the path. Beautiful and beastly animals each with their own quirks and personalities and bad habits and good traits and snotty-upper-crust owners and “nice-to-meet-ya” owners...all waiting for their partners in crime to show up.

I was the first to arrive at the barn-- I was always first -- early riser -- never slept the night before. I parked my heel in front of my mare’s stall. There she was -- show name “Centerfold” but we just called her “Babe” because she was a “hot babe” in the show ring. Nothing fancier out there. Big chested, slick, phoenix orange and red almost glow in the dark shiny with soft eyes and long lashes with an incredible heart and will. She was “my” partner in crime and today would be the biggest test ever of my skill, performance under pressure and mental attitude. We had never jumped this high before.

Jorge met me in the aisle and asked if I were okay -- oh yeah sure -- I’m probably going to die today but I’m fine. I went in to dress and review the class list...sweaty palms and nausea and beads of sweat on my upper lip -- I hated that about me -- the upper lip thing -- it was so -- “not-upper-crust.” I slowly wrapped my calves from ankle to knee with navy polo wraps to keep the heat rub burns to a minimum, stuck lambs wool pads on my feet to protect joints and toes, and slipped on the heavy smooth stocking socks and into the ever-so-figure-flattering breeches. Dress shirt -- nicely starched and neatly fitted with tiny buttons and rat catcher collar with perfect monogram and tucked, tucked, and tucked again and smoothed and cinched. The nausea was overwhelming and I ran to the side of the barn to throw up. Thank God I didn’t have my boots on yet.

I wanted to cry -- actually I wanted to sob -- to release this pressured anxiety but vomiting was the best I could do. I walked back and pulled on boots, slipped on the heavy wool hunt coat and hot, heavy protective helmet. Jorge greeted me with my horse in his hand. She looked completely unscathed and unconcerned about the approaching events. Very matter of fact. We smoothly glided to the warm up ring...to begin.

wendy

where's the rest!? I know, it was a timed writing, but this is great--I want to read on! Good for you, the odor and nausea are palpable.
Keep on writing.........

Sherry

hmmmmm, I'm not really sure what to do next with any of these...I barely have time to get the topic assignment done...
this is really stretching me...making my brain work...but really, I don't have a clue about what I'm doing!

Ardith

I hadn't seen or heard from Margo in over 5 years but when your old best friend from high school calls up to get together for dinnner because she's in town briefly, well of course you say yes. So she comes over to my house to pick me up for dinner. It's the first time she's here and wants to see the place. I show her around, we laugh that there's no tp in any of the bathrooms, it feels like we're in my parents house, back in high school going through my mothers closet, trying on her shoes. When we walk back downstairs, I go to get my coat and she hears my husband in the kitchen. They had exchanged hi, nice to meet you's earlier before he disappeared, leaving us to do our own thing. It was odd that as we were about to walk out the door she strolls the other way into the kitchen. I follow her because I know her too well. A needy insecure woman, craving the attention of men whoever they may be. As I stand there waiting for her next move she begins to take off her tight fitting jacket to reveal a tight, low cut tank top. She's staring right at my husband across from her, asking him what he does for a living as she arches her back and seductively bends over the island inviting his eyes for a good look at her cleavage. I am standing right next to her, witness to this pathetic crave for attention telling myself I shouldn't be suprised but praying my husband doesn't fall for the obvious trap. Don't look, don't look, please don't look I say to myself, knowing she is trying to one up me somehow. But he gets an A+. Not only does he not look, he takes a swig of the bottle of seltzer he's drinking as he leans back on the kitchen sink. He looks at me and tells me to have a good time as he gives me a wink and walks away, leaving Margo to put her coat back on, ashamed of her defeat and looking very stupid. Margo and I go for dinner where I watch her flirt with the waiter. She licks her lips and bites her lower lip, turns her brown eyes up and tells the waiter, "I'll have the snapper" with a little flick of her hair. I wonder now if I'm on candid camera. But she thinks she's the hottest thing going and I gladly take a back seat as she tries to seduce college boy waiter who isn't sure how to take her act. During dinner she tells me she's engaged and will be married in summer. I congratulate her and wonder how long it will last. We leave each other, and she tells me she'll mail a wedding invite. "Sounds great." I say knowing I will never see her again. I didn't have the guts to say what I really thought, but looked forward to going home and sharing my sentiments with my husband. When I walked in the door he asked if I had a good time. I replied, "Thank you for not looking." He then realized he had gotten the ok to say what he really thought. "I saw her coming a mile away, she's a f***ing nutjob!" The wedding invite came a few months later, we didn't go.

wendy

Ardith--14 minutes clearly suits your writing style!!!
Fabulous! Great use of first person (it would be even weirder if she were an unreliable narrator, but that's for another topic, right?). Were you to go back, I'd love to know why they were friends in the first place, maybe an anecdote about their friendship...........
Happy vacation!

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