Free to Breathe, Free to Love, Free to Believe

“Why can’t I grandma? I want to do this?”

“I said no, and I mean no. when I was a kid, I wanted to do the same thing. My parents didn’t care if I got hurt or not; they let me, and now you see what that did for me. I have been half a woman all my days. Got a bum knee which no surgery ever helped. I’ll be damned if I let you do the same thing.”

Lily pouted. She held her head low and turned and walked to her bedroom. Throwing herself on her bed, she let the tears roll. All she ever wanted to do was ride horses. She loved horses. She loved petting them, grooming them. They understood her. They weren’t mean like grandma was.

Lily had been born on the farm. A 200 acre of rolling, green hills. Wooden fences lined the property. Inside the fences held the house she lived in. It was the same home that her grandma and grandpa resided in too.

Lily’s parents died in an auto accident several years ago. This led to Lily coming to live with her grandparents. The name on the tall posts out front was Green Hills, a perfect place to ride horses.

Grandpa had been killed about four years back. He  had been trying to tame a new horse, who didn’t want to be messed with. One day, the sun was pouring down. Grandpa was cussing out the stubborn horse, sweat pouring down his face, almost blinding him by the saltiness. He took out his hankie from his shirt  pocket and when he began to wipe his eyes, the horse bucked and kicked grandpa way back. Poor grandpa hit his head on a cement rock and it killed him instantly.

Now grandma and Lily lived in the big, quiet house. There was farm help that tended to the grounds and animals. Every morning Lily would jump out of bed and pull back the white blinds that covered the lace curtains. In her view were the fields of horses.

When you looked over Lily’s room it was filled with statues of horses. It was born within her; her love for these powerful animals. She looked outside this morning too until she saw Melon. Melon was the name of her horse. Everyone said Melon was the same color as the fruit slices, sitting on the kitchen table.

Lily got dressed and quietly but quickly slipped out the side door and raced to the fence holding Melon in. She walked towards him, talking and cooing. Petting him, she pointed towards the ground and Melon lowered himself so that Lily could get on.

Sitting atop, she could see so far. She looked out over the hills, feeling like she was the luckiest gal alive. Melon directed her towards the gates and with his nose nudged the iron latch, releasing them into open country.

A gentle ride was what it started out to be. The sun was getting hot by the moment. The two seemed to be in tune with each other. Neither made a noise. Nature was being enjoyed by both. I swear the two could feel the others love for each other.

When the ride was over Lily promised Melon she would be back as soon as she could. She walked towards the house and noticed several cars out front. She raced in only to find men with uniforms on and a lady came towards Lily. “Is your name Miss Lily?”

Lily nodded yes. “Can we step out onto the porch? I have something important to say.” Lily let the nice lady lead the way. Once on the porch the two sat in the swing. ” I don’t know how else to say it Lily, but you know your grandma was getting old, and she didn’t feel good a lot, right?” Lily nodded once again. ” Well, your grandma was tired. This morning she was real tired and she decided she wanted to go and visit your mom and dad.”

Lily understood immediately and buried her head in the police woman’s lap and cried and cried. After she stopped the lady said that she would take the young lady in a ride in her police car. She said there was someone special who wanted to meet her at the station.

Entering the double doors, the transaction happened so quick, Lily had no time to scream or shout. The children’s Social Services whisked her into another cold car, and the two headed towards a house in the city.

Lily was introduced to the manager and met some of the children. Lily was filled with emotions so big, she didn’t know how to deal with them. She went to the room that would be hers from now on and cried herself to sleep.

Each day was the same from that moment on. Early rise for breakfast, clean-up the kitchen, chores to do, school to attend, come home to more chores, supper and study, then bed.

Lily hated her life. This wasn’t fair. She didn’t want to live here. She willed herself to hate it no matter what others thought. Mean while, outside these four walls, legal meetings were being held. Family members sitting round big, wooden tables, putting things into place, signing papers. Finally, after three months, the work was done. Everyone shook hands and the table cleared.

It was the beginning of Fall. Trees were changing, colors started to pop on the leaves. Lily was thinking about Melon and how the tree leaves resembled his mane. A car drove up the lane. A man and a woman got out. They walked quickly to the front door and knocked.

Lily listened at the door. After hearing some talk that sounded like arguing, a knock came at her door. She was startled and jumped back. The manager motioned for  her to follow her. Once in the living room, the man and woman came to her and wrapped their arms around her.

“You probably don’t remember us Lily. It’s been a long time since we have come to visit your grandma, but we are your distant family. We have come to take you home.”

“Home?, I have no home, this is my home now.”

“No, your home, the farm, where Melon lives. Melon misses you. You see, your grandma made it so we could live in the home and we know how much you must miss being there. You can live with us there and  ride Melon. I read in a journal your grandma wrote in that you desperately wanted to be a professional rider, but grandma was afraid you would get hurt like she did. We want you to have your dream.”

Lily ran to the two and hugged them with all she had. She looked at the manager and said, “Thank-you very much for letting me visit here but I must go home now.” Not giving the woman a chance to reply, Lily packed as fast as she could. Within an hour, she was out of there and back home. Free to breathe, free to love, free to dream.


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