Thursday, November 08, 2012

The way I thought it would be

I had to go to the lawyer yesterday. It's one of those things I'd been putting off.  She's lovely -- a friend of a friend -- smart, witty, kind, so it's not that.  It's not her, per se.  These things are just difficult. They are hard on the psyche. Does that make sense? I am profoundly aware of my ability to deal with anything, any hardship, any emergency, to be strong and ordered and clever and quick-thinking, and then to fall into a heap two days later.

It reminded me a bit of my Sunday adventure. I'd been to see Fred (the horse) -- who, you will be happy to know, is 20 on November 11 -- at his new home in La Tuna Canyon. I've given him to a children's riding school where my daughter learned to ride, for a few years, to give a little girl some pleasure. And he has found a little girl called Lucy and she has found him and so all is well.  As I was leaving -- and I was the only one at the barn -- I heard the thundering of hooves, and a horse was galloping down the trail from the mountain towards me. I knew if I didn't catch the horse it would go straight into the road, so I ran onto the trail and waved my arms in the air to make myself as big as possible and brilliantly, quite oddly, the horse stopped, stirrups and reins flying.  He stood very quietly as I grabbed the bridle. He was a sweet boy, a bay, thoroughbred, about 16.2. And then I looked down. His whole chest, from one foreleg to the other was ripped open and a flap of skin the size of a t-shirt was hanging down. Blood was pouring out of the bucket-sized hole, skin and muscle and flesh was exposed and the blood was pooling at his feet. It was coming out as fast as you can pour water out of a kettle.  I had the dog under my arm, the little dog, as I was scared she'd be trampled, and I managed somehow to lead the horse to the car so that I could put the dog in it (and wondered later why there was so much blood around my car). I took off the saddle and some Mexican ranchers who live behind the barn came down to help with a towel and a halter.  We pressed the towel against the gaping flesh in an attempt to stop the bleeding but nothing seemed to stem it. One of the guys threw up. It was hard to look at.  The rider appeared -- dusty, dazed, a little hysterical. We sat her down and gave her water while trying through spotty cell service to get a hold of a vet. Dr Bradley, whose office is right in that canyon, was on call at the horse show, but he was helpful in finding someone else.  The horse was so good. He stood quietly if a little wobbly while we tried to get help. He was a good boy. Finally the trainer showed up and took over. A vet was on his way, and I left.  On the way home I sobbed and shook. I couldn't get the image of the enormous wound out of my head. I think it might have been the worst thing I've ever seen.

The horse is fine. He is at the Equine Hospital in Chino. He'll be there for a week or two, but they think he'll be fine. Dr Bradley explained that horses are big animals with gallons of blood so they can afford to lose a few pints. Honestly, I'd never seen blood pour out like that. It is a relief to know that he will be okay.

And so why is the divorce lawyer like the horse with the gaping wound? Because it's the worst thing I've ever done. There is a sense of disbelief. I didn't think my life would turn out this way. I'm not saying that in a feeling sorry for myself way. Far from it. It's just not what I'd planned, not what I imagined.  Somehow I'd seen us in Maine, on the coast, wrapped in blankets in our Adirondack chairs, with books, perhaps the New York Times, spectacles perched on the ends of our noses, our cold hands clasping each other's in our old age. That's the way I thought it would be.

But things don't always work out the way you imagine.  You just don't imagine that nearly thirty years of your life will be boiled down to a list of belongings. You don't imagine yourself saying, "who's going to get the wedding silver?" Every little thing in this house has a story. Every little thing is waiting to find out its fate. There are too many memories to sift through.

But here's the thing: skin heals, wounds get better and there is room for other happy endings. Or so I keep telling myself.


Susan said...

Heartbreaking all over the place ... so glad the horse is recuperating, so fortunate you were there to stop him but lordy, so terrible to witness. They have very brave hearts. I only wish there was some kind of respite and ministering for you at this moment. Stay strong.

Gerry Snape said...

brilliant post...I've just come back from hospital...leaving my husband there...never ill before let alone none of us know what is around the next corner. so sorry that this is how it has been for you.

Z said...

Oh my dear, heartbreaking stories. Thank goodness you were there, that horse would have died without you. I'm sure you've got inner strength that will get you through this.

materfamilias said...
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LPC said...

There are still happy endings. Especially for someone like you.

I have my own as evidence. And my father divorced my mother when he was 47 and she was 45, after 23 years of marriage. At 50, she married a man to whom I had introduced her. She turns 80 in a month. They are still married, her second husband and her, and he holds her hand as they walk. He limps, her memory is going, but they hold hands.

Jessie said...

There is another common thread in this story, which is that your inner strength is evident. Good things and healing are to come for you, just as they have for the sweet horse. Continue to be you.

sianey said...

bloody hell and buggertoes!
you made me cry - carly simon gets me every time.
wishing london was closer to la.
elis 5oth today -
where does the time go?
massive love darling b

Diane said...

You're such a lovely, strong woman. Not one person in ten could have handled the emergency with the horse as you did. The next chapter will be wonderful.

Anonymous said...

I love your blog, I think you will be fine ...