The only thing she couldn’t do was see. That one, wonderful, horrible, sense that meant the world to Jess. The world is black. She felt the car buzzing along the road, heard the motor whirring, then, the wheels turning on gravel. The car stopped. A car door slammed and she heard her own door being opened. Feeling the fresh, windy air, filled with the smell of hay, and horses she knew she was there. Jess loved horses, she could feel the way they felt. In a way they were the only creatures that she could stand to be with. When she was around people, it was always “do you need help?” “are you okay?” she was the focus, but in a way she wasn’t. She was never another person. She was an alien. But with horses, it was different. She was one of them, no different from the rest. In their minds, for all they cared she lived in a stall and ate hay and oats. The worst time was school. The times she dreaded most was coming home to feel her report card. All C’s and a big D-for reading. Reading was the worst! The braile bumps seemed to burn into her. The just reminded her how different she was for everyone. She stepped out of the car and got ready for the usual. “Are you feeling alright?” her mom asked “do you need help?” her father asked, and the lady at the stable whispered to her mother “so, she’s blind?” Holding back a tart remark, she felt her way out of the car and turned toward the sound of neighing. Her mother sighed and whispered a reply to the lady, she could feel the discomfort in the air. But the lady straightened up and said “well, lets show you the stable.” Jess was led across the ground and felt the air get a little cooler as they entered a barn. Hooves stamped, hot breath filled the air with the smell of oats, hay and manure. Heavenly. Today she was going to ride.
This was harder than she thought. She Tried to do what the riding instructor told her, but she just couldn’t seem to get anything right. Finally, the instructor gave up. “I can’t take this anymore, lets have Julie try to teach her!”. Jess could hear her footsteps retreating. For minutes she waited, not knowing what she had done wrong. The crunching of steps startled her. A new voice spoke “You really made Leah angry” it said, but there was not anger in it, it was as if she were sharing an inside joke with Jess they had used a million other times. Right then, Jess fond herself wanting to tell her everything. How hard it was to be blind, how no one ever seemed to trust her. “my name is Julie” said the voice “now lets ride!”.
The days spun around Jess like a dream. Riding, talking, things seemed fun that were a dull chore before. Jess could walk around the barn without anyone helping her. She knew the names if all of the horses, and slowly Julie started teaching her how to read. Starting with little things like the braile on the horses stalls. Soon Jess started to look forward to her time with Julie when they were learning to read. She checked out special books from the library, and read them at home. The more time she spent with the horses and Julie, the better her grades got. She was happier, her parents were happier, the world seemed happier. Then it all went wrong. One day, as they laughed and chatted over a book Jess had just finished reading, Jess heard a car lull itself into the driveway and to a spot 1 feet away from where they were sitting. Julie went still. Jess could feel the tenseness in her body. “stay here Jess” she said hoarsely, all of the laughter gone from her voice. And that was it. Three days later, Julie left for California. Her mother had died, and now she had to move to California to set things right, the house was her’s now, and she had to take care of it. Jess’s grades got worse and worse, and she dropped back to her regular, dull life. The only thing that kept her from going crazy, were the horses. They kept her through the days. One day, As she stroked Peppy, one of the horses, she heard a car pull into the driveway. Not caring in the least, she brought out two peppermints and Peppy lipped them up. It wasn’t until she heard the frantic neighing and yelling did she stumble outside. She heard hooves and the dust in her mouth made her cough. “What is going on?!” she asked. One of the stable girls answered “A new horse came from Seattle, he’s going crazy! He so strange, I think he’s blin-” she caught herself. Jess ignored her and rushed forward toward the sound of hooves. She heard gasping, and felt the warm breath of a horse on her face. She felt her way along to its neck and patted it. The horse snuffled. Jess smiled. “What is his name?” she asked. One of the stable girls called out “I think it’s Blue”. For moments turning into minutes the two just stood there, they knew, at last they had both found a true friend.