Under honey-blonde bangs my captivating four-year-old raised imploring eyes to me and once again asked if she could pet the horse. And once again I reminded her how the electrified fence had made me jump, emphasizing the gravity of my injury with “Owie, it really hurt me.” I rubbed my shoulder for emphasis.
She studied the fence again. “Mama, why doesn’t the horse come over here so I can pet him?”I tapped my cheek. You might say it was a teaching moment, but I was merely living and enjoying the warm day by the river with one of my favorite people. “Why do you think he doesn’t come?”
She stuck her thumb in her mouth then examined it as though it tasted like someone else’s. She wiped it on her shirt. “Would the fence hurt him?”
“Well, maybe.” With no direction in mind, I let my thoughts wander closer to her pace. “Why do you think the farmer put that fence there, anyway?”
Her forehead pushed her eyebrows into a scowl. “He doesn’t like horses.” She held her eyebrows there till I thought they might be stuck.
“Is that right?” I pointed to the shed, and to the pile of hay next to it. “Do you think the farmer built that for the horse so he would have a dry place to sleep?”
She took my hand and pulled me closer. I lowered my ear to her whisper. “No, mama, the horse built it.” Then she giggled.
–to be continued at Boundaries are a Good Thing, part 2.
a work of fiction by Kathy Sheldon Davis