Throughout my childhood I desperately wanted a horse, but my parents said we couldn’t afford one. Awkwardly for them, when I was twelve my friend Emily, whose mother was on welfare, got a horse. It was a rescue horse, but a horse.
The day we first got drunk at thirteen, Emily and I took this horse, Rebel, for a walk. We’d both thrown up many times and were too fucked up to think about riding. The horse also had a heart condition. I can’t remember if this factored into our decision. I know we three were all frail, walking slowly through the neighborhood, the horse saying nothing while we two humans talked about our shame.
In addition to the horse, Emily’s family had two dogs, two cats, a raccoon, a descented skunk and innumerable guinea pigs who escaped and now lived and reproduced in the walls of her house like mice. The house was a real log cabin, built as a summer house on the bank of a pond. Her parents were divorced and her father lived in a trailer a few doors down. Once she brought me to his trailer while he was away to show me his stash of pornographic novels.
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