Walking through the yard she heads for the pasture gate and puts a foot on the bottom rung, leaning her crossed arms along the top rail. She rests her chin on her arms and settles in to watch the horses playing. Clinging to the rough wood, her eyes follow them as they buck and gallop around one another. Like one big family, foals, yearlings, all ages, trot side by side. She could watch them for hours, snuffling bales and ripping up blades of grass with their velvety muzzles.
She can watch, but she can’t join them. She feels left out; just like she does all the time. Like she’s missing out on something important to living, watching time fly past her, leaving her behind, while other people canter away from her. Regrets flow through her mind as her fingers feel sharp splinters rise out of the wood. The ponies do whatever they please, they’re carefree and wild in their captivity. They don’t stand there and worry about what the pony standing next to them thinks. They don’t let themselves become isolated by fear. They don’t turn down invitations to pony parties because they’re stubborn. She watches as they flick their tails lazily, in total disregard of her envy.
Sometimes she thinks she could climb over the gate and run with them, but she knows she wouldn’t be able to keep up. She’d fall behind like she does with people, or get trampled under their hooves; a nuisance.
A wind comes in from the west and plays with the ponies’ flowing manes, lifting the hair up off of their sloping foreheads. Each one has a different pattern spreading across it’s back, with a unique beauty all its own. They shake their heads to brush away the long locks fallen over their eyes. She imitates them and her own hair falls over her eyes too. She sees nothing but her plain mousy hair and stops suddenly. Her mane isn’t nearly as pretty as any of theirs are. Neither is her old coat as special as their shiny sleek ones.
Her eyes wander and come to a stop at the coil of barbed wire in the cropped-short grass, like a snake. It sits a few feet away from her and she remembers something; they’re only ponies, trapped in their pasture. They are fenced in. she has the freedom to leave the fence and walk away, but they’re stuck there chewing on nothing but grass.
She looks down at her feet and thinks; the grass on this side looks a little less dead, a little greener. She might not have a beautiful mane like the ponies, but she’s not fenced in either.
Then she looks up again, glancing at the horses for another while until she breaks off into a gallop alongside the fence; her mane tumbling out behind her, her feet thudding into the earth below. She lets out a yell and feels the freedom of possibility rush past her face.