Farewell, My Stevie

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
You know how in the movies the hero alwas gets their happy ending? How it's impossible for them to die? Welcome to the real world, there are no happy endings.

Submitted: November 27, 2011

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Submitted: November 27, 2011

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I flicked the broom handle and sent a cloud of hay, manure and dust toward the stall door. It joined the pile already there. The barn was silent; the usual laughter was replaced by a heavy blanket of sorrow. 

Emily appeared at the barn door returning from the manure pit holding a now empty bucket. I looked at her solemnly.

We had run out of time.

 I swallowed and tears threatened at the corner of my eyes. I held them back; I’d already promised myself I wasn’t going to cry.

I dropped the broom and let it clatter to the floor. I took the five steps to Stevie’s stall, and pushed open his door. His head swung around and he nickered a greeting before returning to his grain.

My lower lip trembled; to him this was just a regular Wednesday night. I took a slow step toward my beloved horse. He didn’t know this was the last time he’d ever taste grain. He didn’t know he’d never see the darkness of night again. He didn’t know he wouldn’t live to see 2010’s first snowfall. He didn’t know this was good bye. But I did.

I took another shaky step and Stevie looked at me curiously. His grain was gone now and he was starting on the extra hay we’d given him.

 “Stevie,” I whispered blinking my eyes furiously against the tears.

His ears pricked forward and he hobbled a step in the direction of where I stood. I wrapped my arms around his neck and let the tears fall. His velvet nose prodded my chest.

“Julianne,” he seemed to say, “What’s wrong?”

I stepped back and slid my hands down his massive head letting them rest under his chin. I stared at his face; I never wanted to forget what it looked like.

“Oh Stevie,” I spoke softly, “If only you knew.” My voice broke at the end and I leaned against him for support.

He nudged me playfully with his head as he had done a million times before. A flood of memories invaded my head and I let them in, distracting myself from good bye.

Stevie pushing me from behind when I walked too slow. Stevie stealing peppermints from my pockets. Stevie rolling in the pasture. Stevie fighting with Sir Ralphie, the frisky colt in his neighboring stall. Stevie bucking and galloping when he shouldn’t be going faster than a walk. Stevie lying down in his stall, because it hurt too much to stand. Stevie’s worn out green halter that says ‘Henry’ on the side. Stevie cribbing his wooden stall walls. Stevie.

 Maybe this was a mistake. I crumpled to the floor over whelmed and sat cross legged in his hay. This was too much; I wasn’t ready for him to leave me. I rested my head in my hands and let out an eruption of sobs.

The door creaked behind me and I looked around. Emily and Jess were coming in to say their good byes. I put my head back into my hands and stared at the hay and shavings I was sitting in. I didn’t look up until I saw Emily sit down out of the corner of my eye. I glanced up at her; she was sitting jaw clenched fighting tears and staring at Stevie. Jess was a mirror on her other side.

Tears fell freely down my face but I muffled my blubbering. I switched my gaze to Stevie who was munching hay at my feet. Despite my attempts to hold it in, another sob escaped me.

I shook my head, “No,” I moaned, “No,” I hugged my knees to my chest and put my head between them.

Emily squeezed my shoulder but offered no words of comfort. There was no comfort for something like this. My shoulders shook and the stall was filled with echoes’ of my sobs. I heard someone sniffle, either Emily or Jess, but it didn’t matter. Tomorrow my favorite horse in the whole world, the only one I’d ever had a connection with, would be gone from the world he knew. I cried harder.

Trying to gain control over myself, I lifted my head from my knees and gulped in air. My gaze found Stevie and stuck to him like glue. I fingered the horse hair bracelet on my wrist; I’d forever keep this part of him.

His big brown eyes, his dark bay coat, his long dark mane and tail. I whimpered; life was going to be so hard tomorrow. Cautiously, I eased from my knees to my feet and stumbled toward my Stevie.

“Good boy,” I cooed stroking his forelock lovingly. I allowed a couple of tears to dribble down my cheeks before I squeezed my eyelids closed on them. I pressed my face into his fuzzy shoulder.

There were footsteps approaching from the barn aisle. It didn’t matter who it was, Stevie was still going to be put down from his arthritis and old age. I’d never ridden him; of course it wasn’t possible with the state he was in.  He used to follow me around the pasture and come when I called. I owe all the love I have for horses, to him.

 “We’d better go its getting dark.” My mom had appeared at Stevie’s door.

I glanced out the window; I hadn’t noticed it was pitch black outside. I drew in a shaky breath and kissed Stevie’s face He turned his head toward me and gave me one last playful shove. I embraced his head by he tossed it up removing himself from my grasp. I gave him a half smile, for at this I normally would have laughed.

Stevie sniffed at my pockets and lipped my hands, searching for treats. I dug deep into my sweatshirt pocket and tugged out a carrot. His ears pricked expectantly as I snapped it in half. I held out the first half flat in my palm and he eagerly crunched it bite by bite. After he’d digested the first half he stole the second from my grasp and absorbed it.

I sniffled and wiped my nose on my sleeve. I gave him a hug for what would be the last time. The tears started up again. I wiped them away and tried to get a clear last look at him. I sighed, gulped, and then left Stevie’s stall.

 

 

 

 

 


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