|A Single Moment|
God it was hot, and especially so for a centaur. Damn square-cube effect.
During the winter, and after my release from the hospital in the spring, walking from work to the subway seemed like such a good idea. At least until August - and the heat wave. Even taking a shortcut through the G. Ross Lord Park and stopping to step up to my lower chest in the cold water of the reservoir didn't help. Well, maybe a little. It cooled me off from 'near death' to 'almost survivable'. Of course the drying sweat on my lower back made me desperate to scratch, but coolness was a higher priority. Thus I just stood there with my eyes closed to try and concentrate on cool.
I may have nodded off, but I was awoken by the distant rumble of thunder. Fortunately I'd reached the 'almost survivable' stage and opened my eyes to check - the sky had indeed turned black. I dislike rain normally, but at least not it could provide a little cooling. Unfortunately lightning had it's own problems.
As I walked out of the water, removing my glasses and wiping some of the sweat off my forehead, I began to debate what to do.
Hopefully the storm wasn't too close - I could canter for Finch Station which would take twenty minutes, or I could find someplace to wait it out safely.
Galloping was out of the question. Ignoring my mis-set injury, the heat would probably kill me before I could make it. I certainly didn't want to stay in the water, and I knew enough to not want to stand under the trees. Maybe the bridge under Finch?
I started making my way along the grassy water's edge.
Drip. Drip. Drip...Drip. DripDrip. DripDripDrip.
Each drop splashed on my hide, first a faint stinging, and then a tiny disc of coolness. Stopping, I looked around. I could see the trees that were nearby; I could smell the ozone in the air; faintly hear the honking of human civilization, but, most importantly, I could feel the glorious coolness of the rain.
The hell with it. I wasn't carrying anything with me anyway.
The skies opened up and suddenly I couldn't see more than ten feet.
Coolness. Glorious, wonderful, coolness. I felt my breathing vents pinch shut and then I raised my head up and looked into the gray heavens until my glasses were blinded by water. Then, laughing, glorying in feeling cool, I bent my waist forward and sat down and then rolled onto my backs, wiggling both into the damp cool grass, rubbing the sweat out of my hide and scratching the itches the sweat caused.
The world had turned primeval. I couldn't hear any cars; couldn't see their lights; couldn't hear any voices. Just the driving rain; the cold grass; the ozone; and the lightning.
The rain was so hard that it was a continual drumming on my chests but I was finally COOL and didn't care. My shirt was soaked and muddy, my glasses were in danger of breakage, but the heat, the itch, all of it was GONE!
Unable to resist I rolled and stumbled back to my feet, feeling the water, the mud, the grass, all being cleaned off my back from the rain which was beginning to lighten. Then I began to move. First a walk, then a trot, and then a canter, but I refused to let myself go faster. My body cried, begged, but I knew the pain that would follow.
I took my glasses off so I could see at least a little and crossed my arms against my upper chest - it was the best place I'd found to put them. My hooves were skidding in the soaked grass, but I was able to turn around and canter back the way I'd come along the shore of the reservoir.
A tree maybe forty feet away suddenly split and fell down right in my path.
Rearing up and screaming in my mind I spun around, my hooves slipping until I fell onto my side. Then I was scrambling up and fleeing in a blind, primal terror. A walk, a trot, a canter, a gallop...
A gallop and it didn't hurt. It didn't hurt!
Dr'dr'dr'dr'dr'drDripDr'dr'dr'DripDripDripDripDripDripDripDripDripDrip Drip Drip
The rain began to pass but I didn't care. I was galloping! My legs were moving in two pairs, my lungs were being pulled and pushed, my vents were open and shielded by the rain from my speed, my blood was being driven by the pumping of my legs...
I was alive!
OW!OWWWW!! Then I was stumbling and falling...
I fell onto my upper chest as a stab of screaming pain from the muscles around the mis-set rear hip bone made itself felt, and then I slid to a stop, my eyes burning from tears. I'd been there. For a god damned fucking moment I'd been there.
For a god-blessed instant of time I was galloping.
I was banging my fists on the dirt, crying sobbing.
All for a single moment.
Copyright 2002-2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments to him at firstname.lastname@example.org