Sunday, February 21, 2016

Private School...the other side

     I found the school where I best fit in. They asked for me back from the very first day.
     It's surrounded by horses.
     "Helpers" are in each room, and the principal asked me to take breaks in the middle of teaching so the kids could go in the next room and play.
     That's all it existed for...play. There were dollhouses with people, like my Fisher Price village but 10 times bigger.
     There was a helper teacher assigned only to me. When we went outside, I didn't even hafta follow the kids around while they collected leaves and sticks from the nature path.
      I tried to channel my inner Mary Poppins, following a lesson plan the children never saw beneath the glitter and sand.
     I wouldn't ride the horses on the other side of the fence, although I could, bareback, if I had to. It really isn't hard, especially the type around schools. My heels and hands would know the places.
     Horses know I'm scared of them, so we stay apart, usually.
     It's always been this way as long as I can remember. We stay on our sides unless I need to take care of them and no one else can do it.
     I'm not afraid to feed them and know how to hold my hand flat, so they don't get a finger by accident.
     I know to lock the feed room door or else they will eat too much at once and get foundered. Cats and dogs know better.
     But horses and ponies are not big dummies. They use their size in sneaky ways, to make up for their slowness.
     Sure, they are fast out in the pasture, running. But in the barn, they can be clumsy and panic. They get nervous, too.
     Kicking up their hind legs and bucking is the usual way to get rid of me, bit it didn't always work. That's when I saw them plan ahead, but realized it too late, after I was on the ground.
     Daisy, our quarter horse, outsmarted me one day by pooching out her belly when Daddy put the saddle on. I watched the whole thing happen but didn't know what it meant until I was upside down with my hair dangling above the dirt.
     It was scary and funny at the same time. The hanging upside-down part was fun, but the suddenness of it scared me. I was close enough to smell the dirt without getting any on me.
     Before my Daddy even righted the saddle, I realized how Daisy did it.
     Our pony did the same thing one morning in our side yard. He took off really fast but then stopped and put his chin on the ground, watching me tumble down his neck onto the grass.
     I really don't know how my Daddy and cousin stopped themselves from laughing.
     The pony was dinky and not much bigger than me, which made it even worse that he came up with such a simple plan to get me off his back.
     That's why I would not be tempted to wander over to the fence to pet the horses if I ever decided to go back there and teach at the wonderful school with the playroom.
     Horses don't call out to me the way other animals do because they showed me it's safe for both of us if I stay on the other side.
    Their lessons were only painful on the inside, when I looked up and saw the real cowgirls still in the saddle as I walked away and went inside.
     That's when I cried, alone, upstairs, with my music playing.
      I wasn't scared any longer; I was angry...
      and so very ashamed of myself
      for being afraid
      and for being
      different.