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The Trust of One (standard:non fiction, 1757 words)
Author: E. CreelyAdded: Jul 21 2001Views/Reads: 1642/978Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
This is a recollection/narrative about a particular little girl who I hope I gave a lasting gift to.

I have thousands of photos, and only a small portion ever end up in some
sort of photo album. The rest remain in shoeboxes, giving them a much 
more dignified existence. Every now and then I grab a stack and peruse 
them expectantly, as their non-temporal arrangement makes each one seem 
new, since I don't know which image I will be seeing and feeling next. 

Occasionlly I cull this unruly herd of memories, deciding I don't really
need another shot of some tree or flower, and this culling also 
involves the pictures I can't remember why I bothered saving. 

There is one particularly random picture I have never thrown out. It is
of an earnest-faced girl gently brushing the face of a horse. It is a 
close-up, a portrait I took for a class in college. Her gentleness and 
utter submission to the act she is performing is complete. 

This 9-year-old girl who lived underneath my apartment was a hesitant
and gentle little thing. Soft-spoken, and wearing dorky glasses, she 
wore wal-mart clothing and a thrift-store disposition. Her mother was a 
nice, overweight, simple woman who did god-knows-what for a living. All 
I know was that shortly after meeting her mother, this girl wanted to 
show me her model horses and was enthralled when I spoke of horses I've 
known. This is why I adored her. She was an under-dog, didn't give a 
hoot yet about her blatantly poor looks, hadn't been corrupted yet by 
the teasings that were sure to come her way. 

She's pure still and will only last this way for another year or two.
This is how she remains in my memory. She will turn hard later, with no 
choice because those who turn hard do so when it becomes clear that no 
one really cares much except her mother, and sometimes that isnt good 
enough. That is why I took a shine to her and devised a way to get her 
out of the apartment. 

Across a little gulley from our complex is a green, dapple-sunlighted
pasture with a horse in it, as equally underappreciated as this girl. 
For 3 months I manage to create a little allegiance between her and 
this horse, which wasn't my conscious intention at the time. I just 
felt bad that she spent her days by herself, either inside the basement 
apartment, or outside on the lawn not doing much of anything. 

It started by asking her mother if she'd let her daughter go with me to
see if the owner's would mind us grooming the horse, ostensibly to show 
her the right way to do it. We traipsed over to the big, wooden-style 
house and knocked on the door. She was fidgeting and highly suspect 
that this will work. I let her know that the worst they can say is no 
and that if that's the case, we can always sneak in petting sessions 
since they rarely seem to be home. 

A nice 30-ish man answers the door and I introduce us, indicate where we
live and say 'Ive noticed your horse in the pasture ... I have trained 
before and I was wondering if it would be ok if she and I come over a 
few times a week and groom him.' He asks me if we want to ride him and 
I resist the urge to say 'oh could we??" But instead I do the prudent 
thing and say 'no, no, I just want to show her how to groom a horse.' 
He tells me the horse is his mother's, adding 'nobody does much with 
him anymore - go ahead.' He tells us that we can anytime and we don't 
have to come and ask every time. 

He closes the door and I turn around to see her smiling as much as I've
ever seen her smile. "We're in" I say, and we return to my house to 
pull down a few boxes and look for an old pair of curry combs and 
brushes I've held onto. 

Walking back to the fenced, hilly pasture, I tell her that I'll approach
him first, just to see what kind of mood he is in. Thus the first 
lesson begins: how to gage his body language. 'You see, when he doesn't 
want to be bugged, his ears will go back and his eyes will dart all 
over the place and he'll wag his tail kinda violently,' I tell her in 
my of-course-I-know-what-I'm-doing voice. 

I walk to the fence and make a smacking with my lips. I'm still
convinced this an insider's way of talking to a horse, a sign that 
someone who really knows horses does this, of course. I learned it from 
the Black Stallion movie, my bible of horse sense. 

The horse, who had been grazing, pricks his head up and measures us with

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