|Under the Moon
by Michael Bard
© Michael Bard -- all rights reserved
My sister got married today.
I know what you're expecting, but this isn't going to be it. The wedding was nice and all that, people were okay with me once they got used to my event gifted centaur body -- I think they'd been warned -- and as usual the nieces and nephews loved me. Everything was arranged, travel to and from Toronto via horse trailer, travel to and from my parent's house to the wedding via the same, etc.
I'm standing there, sipping another water, watching them dance. The music is loud, pounding, and all I want to do is pull my ears against my head to shut it all out, but my ears are human. So I stand, smile, and nod, whilst my tail whips back and forth.
I didn't want to be here. I didn't want to be here in the crowd, in the stink, in the noise. And yet, it's my sister. It's a social obligation.
So why do they all look like strangers?
One of my uncles asks how Toronto is. I tell him it's all the same and he nods and goes back to who he was talking too.
This is my family, my parents, my brother, my sister, my aunts, my uncles...
Why am I so alone?
Turning off the music, the DJ speaks-- oh great, it's time for my sister to throw her bouquet. All the unattached women line up -- I look away from them -- and my sister throws. Look! Somebody I've never met catches it. My sister hugs her, everybody cheers and--
No, they're not. They can't...
My sister's husband is extracting a garter--
I can't, not here, not now. I can never--
It's hot, and oh so crowded-- Mumbling niceties, I clatter out and into the parking lot. I need to cool off.
But I'm not supposed to be here! I'm not--
But I am.
I stand outside, faintly hearing the cheering, and then the music. It's cooler, I'm more comfortable even though it's raining.
Why am I here, outside?
Behind me I hear the door opening and my body quivers. Trotting across the parking lot, I make my way around the back. There's a little creek, some trees, some grass. Only then does my body relax. Not inside, not with friends, but out in the wilderness, alone.
A car goes by in the distance and I shiver.
I should be happy, but-- I take another few steps into the scrub. That's when I notice I'm unbuttoning my dress shirt.
I force myself to stop.
But the shirt is human.
But I'm human. No, I used to be human.
Standing here, half way down in a gully, I feel the cold wind blowing through my hair, my tail, rustling along my horse back. I can feel my hooves sinking into the soft ground. In my ears I hear the echoing hiss and creak of the wind in the trees, the shrush of rain on the branches and just opening leaves, the gurgle and bubbling of the creak as it runs its way into the tunnel that disappears into the ground.
Now, and only now, do I relax. Nothing around me but wilderness, the near full moon piercing the clouds, its light brighter than the streetlights I can see through the rain and mist. My shirt's soaked, my lower back soaked, and I shiver. But I don't care.
In there is civilization. The people I don't know, the family I almost never see--
It's not me. None of it is.
They have their world, I have mine.
They have their kind, and me?
I'm an individual. A centaur. Unique.
Website Copyright 2004,2005 Michael Bard. Please send any comments or questions to him at email@example.com