I believed everything my dad had said. It was a month later when the letters from my mom’s attorney stopped and things started to calm down a bit. Everything was slowly starting to go back to normal, everything except Romance. It was Christmas eve morning, around twelve o’clock in the morning to be exact.
I couldn’t sleep. Since Thanksgiving, seeing Romance became a rarity. It was as if she was a ghost. She was here one moment and gone the next.
I walked out of the house and into the cold Christmas air. There was a light layer of snow on the ground and a slight breeze whistling through the rigid, frozen branches of the trees that surrounded the property. I walked a small ways down the path that lead to the same spot I sat when I saw Romance. Climbing onto the fence, I sat and crossed my arms over my chest. “Where are you Romi?” I whispered to myself seeing nothing but pitch blackness. I sighed and held myself tighter as the frigid wind whipped at my face. I shivered as the wind stopped.
When the wind ceased I heard the sound of a faint and distant whinny. I slowly got off the fence and tentatively made my way across the pasture. I could see the light overtop the sliding door of one of the other barns and that’s where I was heading. The walk in the cold felt as though it was taking forever.
Stepping into that barn, I let the slightly warmer air ease my tensed up muscles. To my surprise, the barn was empty. The lights were on, but there were no horses in any of the stalls. I walked over to the light switch on the wall and placed my finger on it about to switch it off. Before I could flip the switch, the whinny came again. I jumped and put a hand over my mouth to keep from screaming. Holding my hand over my mouth, I slowly crept forward. As I proceeded down the isle of the barn, I could hear the strong breath of a horse breathing. I took my hand away from my face and breathed in a soothing breath.
I drew closer to the last stall in the barn when I saw her. “Romance,” I breathed walking straight for the stall that contained her. “I found you, girl.” I cooed entering the stall being greeted with her nose for me to stroke. I held her nose and kissed her forehead. “I missed you baby girl.” I said feeling her relax into me. I smiled as her ears twitched to the sound of my voice.
“I knew you’d find her eventually.” Tanya said. “You two are one in the same.”
I turned around and smiled. “We are aren’t we?”
There was a long pause and Tanya looked distraught. “Camille, I just want you to know that your father and I did everything we could to save her. She’s just so old and the chances of her making a full recovery are slim. Sweetie, your father and I think it’s time to put her to sleep.”
As the last word left her mouth I felt like I was living in a nightmare. I shook my head. “No, I’m not going to let her die!” I cried. Romance let me hold her as the tears slid down my face.
“I’m so sorry sweetie. We kept her alive a month too long. She’s suffered every day that we kept her alive. The way she fell on her back…there was just no way of repairing the damage.” I could hear her voice crack and I know she was telling the truth. “I’ll let you stay as long as you need to stay with her.”
I sniffled as Tanya walked away. Before she could leave the barn completely I called her. “Tanya,” She turned around. “It’s my last day with her, isn’t it?” I asked heartbroken. Tanya gave me a silent nod. The nod said it all. I fell to the floor of the stall and started to sob. As I covered my face with my hands to muffle my sobs, Romance began to lay down so she was next to me. What shocked me most, is that she rested her head in my lap. It was like she was saying, “It’s okay. I’m ready to go.” I stroked the side of her face lightly as the wind howled outside. I fell asleep with Romance in my arms.
The next morning, I woke up to the sound of the barn door opening. I knew it was my dad. The sound his boots made when he walked on hard surfaces was distinct. “Camille,” His voice was soft.
“Yea,” I sniffled from the crying and the cold.
“Let’s go for a walk.” He said from outside the stall. I nodded. Romance shifted her weight onto her side and slowly got up.
“Romance can come too.” He said before walking out of the barn. I knew what was going on. Reluctantly, I grabbed her halter off the hook and slid it onto her head. I grabbed the matching lead rope and hooked it to her halter.
“Let’s go for a walk.” I cooed leading her from the stall and out of the barn. Her heavy blanket shielded her from the cold. I wish I could say the same for my sweater. “Where are we going?” I asked my dad.
“We’re going to the hill.” He said with a small smile.
“It’s time, isn’t it?”
He nodded. “It’s time.”
My dad and I walked side by side up the trial that Jace and I raced that one summer day. The trail for Romance and me held some great memories. I’d take her on this trail and we would sit on the hill top and just look out over the vast amount of farm land. I wiped away a stray tear that streaked down my cheek.
I relived the memories like they happened yesterday. Every one of those memories was happy and filled with laughter and smiles, unlike this one. My dad and I reached the clearing and the hill came into my sight. I fought to hold back my tears as I saw a woman in a white lab coat standing there, waiting. I took a deep breath as we stopped at the top of the hill. The lady gave me a sad smile. “I assume you know why we’re here.”
I nodded. “I know,” I said barely above a whisper.
“I’m going to ask you to have Romance lie down and then we’ll start.” I nodded and sat down on the ground with my legs straight out. Romance was exhausted from the walk and she quickly got to the ground after me. Just like last night, she rested her head in my lap and I stroked her neck soothingly.
“You’re okay,” I cooed wiping the tears from my eyes.
“Camille, I’m just going to give her a small injection. She won’t feel any pain whatsoever. Once it’s in her system, she’ll start to slip away.” The woman said. I nodded watching her kneel down next to Romance. She tapped the needle a few times before slowly giving the dose to Romance. She pulled the needle out and stood up. “I’ll leave you two alone.”
I turned around to see that my dad had left. I took a breath and let the tears fall freely. “I love you, baby girl.” I said. “Don’t ever forget that.” Her breathing sounded labored and I knew it wouldn’t be long. When I felt like she was growing weak, I said the one thing that I never said to her. “Thank you,” I wiped my cheeks and leaned down to kiss the side of her face. “Thank you for giving me a chance.” I stroked her neck again and said my one last thank you. “Thank you for helping me start over. I love you, Romi.” As the last word left my mouth, Romance slipped away. I leaned down to kiss her cheek one last time before gently lifting her head from my lap and standing up. “Rest in peace, baby girl.”
- - - - - - - - -
I’m sorry to say this, but this is the end. I’ll put up a prologue later. Sorry the ending seemed somewhat rushed. In all honesty, I lost any sort of inspiration for writing this story.
I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who read this story the whole way through. You guys are amazing. Thank you for all your comments and votes, it means a lot. – Hayley
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Save MeTeen Fiction
I never felt wanted - or loved for that matter - since I was little. You see my parents divorced when I was little, if you consider my dad running out on us a divorce. Then yes, they were divorced. It wasn't until years later that my mom stopped loo...