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Horse made of glass - Part 16
by Katerina Charisi
2017-09-03 12:51:14
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“The way they see it, they gave you this house to rule and this man to take care of and you belong to them and they put up with you only for him, because he is their guy and you are only his wife. If you vanished in thin air no one would even blink. They would come over your place and take on from where you left everything. If there are dishes to the sink they will wash. If there’s no food in the pots they will cook. They will wash your kids and put them to sleep and they ‘re gonna sleep on your side of the bed.”


“You either accept that, or get the hell out of here and don’t look back. If you look back, you return. Once you returned, you belong to them forever. You’ll never complain about a thing again.”

 *    *   *

And she had looked. She had let herself to look back when she listened to her mother laughing after telling her she would fly to another planet if she could, just to forget him.

kati_400“People separate from each other every day”, she had told her. “Pull yourself together. You can’t just run away every time things go bad. You wanted to leave home and live a life on your own and you did, and look where you had to go. Two hours driving away, like we chased you. You stopped visiting each weekend as you used to. You met this man and went on the mountains with him, leaving that life you worked hard to get; your job; your friends; you ran even further away. Now you want to leave him and you want to go somewhere else. Well, you can’t always start a new life in new places. Especially when you have no money at all. Sometimes you just have to go on from where you are. There’s only one life.”

It didn’t matter what her mother had told her, anyway. Once she felt his seed inside her, she called him. And then she went back.  And accepted it all since.

She could blame it all but him. She could blame the weather for that matter, it’d made no difference at all. But she could never blame him. He had been honest since the beginning, though he didn’t even know it and she never guessed. He’d showed her from the very first moment who he was, and had no interest to change or at least try. She knew that all. She knew it and she chose to close her eyes and shut her ears and ignore her gut and her instincts. She just wanted to change him and she knew she‘d never make it, but she was determined to try with all of her strength.

And she failed.

The only one to blame was herself. So many mistakes and so many bad decisions and she always knew they were wrong. But she’d chosen to take them. She’d said “god, just let me live this and if I’m wrong I’ll pay”. And the time to pay came too early and she asked for another chance. And another. And years of mistakes piled up until she found herself unable to live otherwise, for she forgot who she was.

And every time she couldn’t help herself and cried, pulling her hair and sticking both fists in her mouth to shut the animal screams, she listened to the soft footsteps and saw the boys’ faces with their huge eyes and with a genuine question in them, asking “mamma what’s wrong, why you sad?”  And she yelled at them to go away, for she didn’t want them to see her like this and she felt even more awful and helpless for treating them like that.

The boys never seemed to understand what was going on, how could they? They were just little children. How could they possibly understand that, what she did to them was not because they did something wrong, but because all of them were just there and that was the mistake from the beginning?

She couldn’t decide what was worse, that they never understood what was going on and why things were this way in their home, or that there was nothing she could do to change things and make their life better? She didn’t know. She didn’t know how to do anything, anymore.

God, I’m making my children be afraid of me. They’re not going to be little forever and then they will hate me.

But she wasn’t like her mother in law. She would never be like her. She didn’t have children to keep them with her. She wanted her children to do exactly what her mother in law was afraid to do: spread their wings and fly to the end of the world.

She wouldn’t let her children replace her absent husband, or close the gaps in her soul, or fill the emptiness and the mountains’ isolation.


But then again, she thought all the times she cut her own son’s wings with her words and actions; she thought of all the times she derived him the chance to be whom he was. She remembered how she used to be a kid once and how different she found the world surrounding her, and she remembered there wasn’t a single way of her to understand how or why things were happening while everything around her seemed wrong and everyone thought or her being the wrong one, and how they always instructed her and isolated her and punished her for what and who she was, how hard she had fought with her own self to change and become whoever they damn wanted, but even then they found something else that was wrong about her.

She thought of all the times she was no different than anyone else that had turned her life into a nightmare and she often caught herself repeating things her mother told her as a child and she hated herself even more. She thought of the rejections she gave to the boy because of  her own misery and sleeplessness and tiresome and the boy never complained, and at nights she sat on the sofa out the porch and smoked and cradled herself and raised her arms to the sky like asking “God, what? What else do you got for me now?” And she kept rocking and rocking and mumbling “a break I just need a break, no children, no house, no mountains outside and no washing no cooking no mopping and rubbing and ironing and cleaning and nothing to hear and nothing to see just the flick of a switch and a break for a while. Only for a few days. Please, god.”

She thought of how much she loved both of her kids and that her kids were the only reason she kept opening her eyes every morning and kept repeating her days over and over through the years, but there were times her husband snore next to her and she laid to her side with her eyes wide open, thinking of ways to end all this, thinking of ways to release herself and her children from this misery, but then, what right did she have to rule her children’s life, and on the other hand, what kind of mother gives such a life to her children? She thought of a cocktail of pills and she thought of alcohol and she thought of herbs but she was so afraid that anything could go bad and she would die and the children wouldn’t and what would happen to them, or even worse, she would wake up and have to face her children’s wax, lifeless faces.

She remembered when the boy was still a baby and she came up with the thought that she had no picture of herself. She had no picture of her childhood or teens or later and if something happened and she died her son wouldn’t even remember his mother’s face.

God, what’s wrong with me?

This wasn’t her. This pathetic little woman wasn’t her. Where her real self did had gone?

She remembered when she decided to buy a horse. She had no idea about horses but she would learn, just to have something in common with him and a reason to spend some time together.

She held the money in her hands and said “I’m buying a horse”. And he smiled and said “I’ll help you pick the right one for you” and she said “you can help as long as it is a black one.”

“Total black one?”


“You’re a tough woman”, he laughed. “No star on the forehead?”

“I don’t care.”

He nodded and said “alright, but we should get my old man’s brother with us” and she said okay.

They drove all the way to the next town and reached the farm in the valley and he parked the car. She had sat again in the back of the car as she always did when someone else was in the car, though she never understood the reason. She wouldn’t care at all of being in the back if those who took her place in front didn’t give her mocking looks, like telling her the same thing she never accepted, “you are a stranger, after all.” His mother or sister for example. His old man didn’t care but he took it as granted that he’d always be in the front as the family’s head. The uncle had just a large booze belly.

They stopped and got out of the car and waited. Her husband and his uncle chatted indifferently about hunting.

They heard a neigh and turned their heads and looked at the two horses the farmer brought for them to see. The one was dark grey with the white star on its forehead. “Too young, maybe one year old. Good horse”, her husband said. “Has the aravani too. See the legs?” He asked her. “Two legs on the same side take one step. Like a camel. No jumpin’ on the saddle, no sore back.”

“I know what aravani is”, she replied.

“Okay, ma’am.”

 The other was older, “maybe two, two and a half” the uncle said, tall, with long black curly mane and total black.

“No star. No aravani.”

“Well”, the uncle brushed his moustache. “That one a straight. Is goin’ to bump you a lot”.

“The foal is a good one”, said her husband.

She only looked at them both and said nothing, though she knew which one was her horse.

“The straight is out”, her husband said.

Uncle stroke his moustache again and nodded. “But it’s the best horse for her”, he declared.

She didn’t had to think anymore about it. She went to the shack and found the man and took the money out of her pocket.

“Not yet”, the uncle said. “He’s going to twist him first”.

“Twist him?”

“Cut his balls”, said her husband.

“No, I don’t want to.”

“You’re not taking a stallion, that’s out of the question.”

“Niece”, the uncle said. “He’s right. A stallion is a pain in the ass. And that one there is a frightened stallion too, see the look in his eyes? How he stares the ground and jumps in every grass moving in the air? You got a lot of hard work to do, already. You need a lot of help and a lot of work and at least a year before you can ride it. But for some reason that horse will be good only for you.”

“Why’s that?” Her husband asked.

“Well, she’s too calm. Too patient. If someone can make this horse for a ride, that would be her. She can make it.”

She paid half and the old man said “the twist’s tomorrow and then you can take him home” and she wasn’t sure she wanted to watch that but she felt she had to be there to protect her horse. She knew men were not much of caring with their animals and she was determined to do things her own way this time. They went back without much talking, though she was excited but didn’t want to look too girly. They returned for the twist and she had to hold the horse’s head down and she didn’t dare to look to what the men did to him, but she listened to his groans and just whispered “its okay, you are going to be okay with me, just wait and see.”

When they were done they waited another week or so for the horse to heal and they drove again all the way to get him, stopping to uncle’s house first to pick him up for he wanted to witness the payment and check the wound.

When everything was settled, he said “okay, it’s a long way home” and she said “I’ll be fine” and she pulled the rope gently and the horse followed and started walking.

“Hey, you can’t walk all the way up there, for Christ’s sake.”

“We can’t pull the horse with the car. Not this horse”, she said. “He will never follow you”, she added and that last part was told with a look he didn’t like.

His uncle nodded. “Let her do it her own way. She’s stubborn and that’s what that horse needs.”

Sometimes she felt like this person was never her. She couldn’t believe how she let herself change so much through the years, turning to a miserable, weak, little woman. But she had lived with that horse and she was the only one who could ride it and she had taken no help at all.


Horse made of glass
Part 1 -Part 2 -Part 3 - Part 4 - Part 5 - Part 6Part 7 - Part 8 -Part 9 -Part 10 -Part 11 

Part 12 -Part 13 -Part 14 -Part 15 -Part 16 -


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