The Last Time

I anxiously ran my fingers down Little Dorrit's soft muzzle, watching the course intently, wishing it was not my last chance to be with her. I hated the idea of moving. The boy on the bay jumped…first jump clear. I had lived in Africa my whole life and now we were going to the United States? He rounded a corner and went on to the second. Clear again. The only good thing I could see about the country was my grandma's house. I was growing more nervous as I watched him come to the end of his course. What if I knocked a jump? My sister was always so good at eventing; I could never do as well as she had with Dorrit. What if I forgot the course halfway through?

Hearing the crowd emit a rueful 'ooh', I snapped my head back to the riding ring. The boy had knocked a jump. I absently noticed one of the grooms urging me to mount Dorrit and head towards the entrance. One more rider and then I was up. I reviewed the course in my mind as I ambled over to the rickety wooden gate. I could do this. I took a shaky breath. I could not be nervous or Dorrit would become antsy. I briefly put the reins down, flexing my hands. Another shaky breath. Better. I exhaled deeply as a methodical voice boomed across the area, announcing my entrance.

I ran my hand down her soft chestnut coat one last time, gave her a pat on the shoulder, and squeezed my legs gently, urging her into the arena. This was it. We began at a trot, moved into a canter and went around the barrel jump and through the start flags. The timer was off. We came around a corner, into the first blue and white jump. We jumped… and cleared. I felt Dorrit speed up a bit. She was going too fast…I started gently pulling on the reins and then releasing; pulling and releasing. Just like Lin taught me. Everything will be fine. We turned and approached the second jump. I felt her take an extra pace, too short, close, she hesitated…and jumped. Clear and onto jump three. She sped up and again I started pulling.

Slow down, Dorrit…don't rush, don't rush…

Moving to the third jump and…ooh, close, close, I heard her hoof clanging against the wood. It teetered behind me, I could hear it rolling from side to side in its brace…rolling, rolling, rolling….still. Safe. I turned another corner and saw it still in place. Safe. I let out a short breath. But Dorrit was speeding again.

Slow down girl, easy does it…whoah…

She wouldn't listen to me.

Easy girl, slow down!

My whole body tensed as I tried to regain control of the situation. We came into the fourth jump. Up, over, clear. We came out straight, started to turn, but she was going too fast. Faster, faster, approaching a gallop, going, going, slow down, can't stop. I could hear them telling me to slow down. I knew! I knew that already, but she's not listening to me! Suddenly she veered off to the right and I landed painfully on the ground. Tears ran down my face…why was I crying? There was no reason…I saw one of the grooms take Dorrit's reins and lead her off.

Why are they taking her? Come back, I'm not done! I can finish this course…I can finish it, I know I can! Last time I fell they pulled me out and I was fine.

I heard someone calling my name. Dad? Yeah, my dad and someone else.

What are they looking at? Why are you telling me I can't ride?

They showed me my wrist. Oh. My stomach heaved. Dislocated. I could tell as much from the awkward, jutting bone forming two clear 90 degree angles between my hand and forearm. The bone heaved excruciatingly against the skin containing it. The tears stopped. Shock. Time froze….tears trickled one by one back down my face. They wanted to move me, but it hurt.

I don't want to move! I want to finish the course.

I looked back again to watch Little Dorrit being led away. The last time I ever saw her.

A/N: This was another short English assignment from last year. A true story, actually, which I experienced(you probably didn't want to know that--I prefer to imagine stories are always fictional so that I can get into the story more, but oh well). So yah. Please review and tell me what you think.

....okay, and reading it over, it sounds very dramatized. I don't know--maybe it is, but this is the way I remember it.

Thank you for reading!