We said our farewells a year ago. A lifetime ago, it seems to me. It was hard to walk away, after witnessing your joy in your newfound freedom. I wanted to wrap my arms around you and put you back into the trailer. You probably were having the time of your life, and I was regretting giving it to you.
I've learned recently that you survived the winter on this godforsaken range. The rancher was sure it was you, with your trademark star, a perfect, radiant star on your forehead.
I'm here now, again, in the place where you gained your freedom. The truck and trailer are parked a mile west of me. I'm sitting here on this dew-wetted grass, waiting for you, my dear, my baby, my love. It's unlikely that you are anywhere near my position, or that you can sense me, but some hope holds me here. Something will not let me rise, will not let me return to my truck and roar away from here.
The sun rises higher, I feel the heat through my heavy jean jacket, but I wake not from my trance like state to shrug out of it. I remember us, the strength of our bond. I could ride you with nothing but me on your back. It was magic, I say. This devotion we have for each other. Oh, my dear, was it one-sided? Will you not come back to me now? Will you not sense my presence here, even over the vastness of distance, and come running for me?
I close my eyes to the brightness of the sun; refuse to acknowledge the hours slipping by, every hour that chips at my hope. Why would you want to return to me? Why, when you have a herd of your own to live with, would you come home to me? Oh, I wish, I desire, I yearn, but I know it is impossible and futile of me to hope, to remain here.
I see you now, a part of a large herd, happy and content, living as your ancestors once did upon a green earth. You live from day to day, without human interference, living on instinct, surviving by your nature alone. Moving from green hill to green hill, drinking from the water hole on this plain.
The sun rises ever higher, its presence directly above me now – half the day has gone, yet I still lie here on this grass, refusing to leave. Oh, even if I could just see you, one last time. You do not have to return home with me, I just want to see you, touch you, to know that you are alive and well.
I sleep now, dreaming of you, of the time we had together, of the thoughts that led me to believe you belonged free. Oh, why did I think I could live without you? Why did I think you should be free? I need you in my life. No other has been able to replace you. I cannot ride another without acknowledging that it is not you.
My body coils in pain. I'm torturing myself by allowing myself to believe you would return to me over windswept plains. My dreams cause the tears to fall from my eyes, drying on my pale cheeks. I roll onto my side, the crickets my only companions as they hop gleefully from grass blade to grass blade. I feel the sun at my back now, beginning its descent to the western horizon, and I know that I must leave soon. It would be difficult to find my way to the road in the blackness of night.
I fall deeper asleep, no longer dozing, and hear the thudding of your hooves in my dreams. They touch the ground as soft as gentle sunbeams lighting the grasses. I see you, head held proudly, arched there at your poll, nose pointed to the ground, showing off your star. Your silky mane flows long and wild over your muscular back. You fly towards me. You've missed me as much as I've missed you. You want to come home with me; you willingly follow me back to my trailer. You've had a taste of freedom, and now want nothing more than to live the rest of your life with me.
I wake, just as the sky turns violet. Oh, darling, if only that were true.
I rise from the ground and scan the vastness of the range, hoping, as I should not, to see your form skimming over the prairie grasses. Tears stream down my face as my aspiration falls around me, crumbling into a defeated pile of rubble at my feet. There is no telling where you are now. I had known it was unlikely to get a glimpse of you.
I sigh, will myself to be strong, to pick up my life and continue on, even without you. And then, just as I'm turning to leave, something grasps my mind. I again am frozen to the ground, expectation holding me as the sun sinks into the western sky at my back. I see you, before my eyes do. Rising over the hills in the distance, running for all you are worth, running home to me. You are alone. You have left your herd, all for me.
You whiney as you draw near, as my eyes see you. Tossing your head in glee, your hooves touching the grasses as gentle beams of light. You appear to fly. Mane and tail waving out behind you, head arched in that proud way, ears on me.
I leap in joy, letting out a whiney of my own. Now, tears of delight race down my cheeks, and I am truly, wonderfully, happy. Nothing can describe what I feel.
As you slow to a trot, and then a stop before me, I cannot even raise my hand to touch you. You are more beautiful then I remember. As you stand patiently before me, you appear as fine porcelain. But a year apart cannot keep me from you for long. I throw my arms around you, throwing all caution to the wind. You have come home to me, my love. Never again will I ask us to part.