Posts Tagged horses
She rinsed out the coffee cups and put the coffee tin away. She went into the living room and gathered all of the clothes that had fallen out of her suitcase. She folded them into a pile. She got an old paper from the front proch and carried it to the recycling bin.
When she came back inside he was standing in the same spot from when she was on the phone with her mother. This was goodbye. She held her breath.
“My business is done for today,” he said, which sounded just as certain as his statements always were. He did have some hairs out of place, but otherwise looked completely collected.
Ala leaned against the doorframe. It was foolish to keep him in the house, when she had been told not to have guests.
“How about the track?” He said, looking out at the beautiful day she was silhouetted against.
She thought he was joking. She had visited Pikington Park this summer more than she had in her entire life. She knew nothing about horses or racing. She knew nothing about placing bets. It seemed like a waste of time.
He sensed her disappointment.
“All right, some other time. How about something more dangerous? Like a hike?”
“Ala, you’re staring.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I’ve been a bit drowsy today.”
Gene laid a twenty on the bar.
“Come on, they’re probably singing happy birthday”
They wove their way back to Dora’s party. When they got there, the candles were lit and everyone had gathered to sing. Ala mouthed the words but was always afraid someone would hear her singing voice, even in the large crowd.
She picked at her piece of lemon cake with pink rosettes. Dora was a little old for a big cake with candles. But everyone seemed to be having a good time. She eyed the clock and decided to leave after the next race. She could make out the light colored horses but had trouble with the darker ones because the sun had set.
She looked at the tickets that littered the green asphalt. Thrown away receipts of money that people did not have to throw away in the first place.
The horns went off and the horses started around the track. People leaned so far over the ledge that they easier could’ve dove right through the large canopy on the main lawn, especially with enough alcohol in them.
Ala watched the horses; three seemed to be losing speed. She pitied the creatures and at the same time thought it must be nice to not really have to figure out what to do with your time. You eat carrots, someone brushes your coat and you run. That’s all there is to it. Until it’s time for you to go, but what a terrible thought.
Gene seemed to be getting close to Dora’s friend Myra. Ala thought she was attractive and well spoken and hoped she liked Gene. He was, after all, desperate to get married because he would not inherit family money or get a promotion until he did.
She reached the top and took in the view of the entire arena. It was picturesque in the dimming sun, all of the lawns the brightest green, the stables with beaming white siding, the horses, while miniature, still had pronounced coats that shimmered.
She spotted Dora, spilling out of a strapless number with bright red lipstick, and made her way over to say happy birthday.
Dora sipped bubbly out of a large plastic mug that said “Birthday Bitch” on it and chewed on some kind of sausage.
“Thanks for coming, Ala.”
“Of course, happy birthday. Now that I’m back I—” She was interrupted by a girl she had not met before who spouted out something about someone she and Dora used to work with. Shrieks of laughter followed along with yelling across the floor to another group, who came over immediately. Ala backed away and looked for the drink tray. Gene came up and hugged her.
“You’re back, finally!”
“Yes, it feels good. How’s summer?”
“The same. Dad’s making me work at the club.”
“Yeah, hey you’re not drinking.”
“I was looking for a julep.”
She follows him through the crowd of young girls who look like they raided their mother’s closets with their large brimmed sunhats and peep toed shoes. They go past a buffet where a tiny chef is carving from a pig roasted whole, its charred skin shining under the lamp.