The morning sky was ominous: black and blue, as if the sun and the moon conducted a predawn brawl for dominance.
The owners called down to my barn and asked me to come up to speak with them. After my barn was finished, I started my walk up to the house.
I knew this could not be good. My suspicions were only confirmed when I sat down at the kitchen table, and one of the owners averted her gaze.
The air was thick, and the room seemed motionless. She kept her gaze affixed to a point just past my right shoulder for the duration of this significant life lesson concerning man's ability to have a beating heart in the midst of being a heartless man.
The words finally came forth from her forked tongue, "We have to talk to you, about Liam."
I swallowed, and it felt as if I was trying to gulp down shards of glass mixed with sand.
I was informed that like any good horse, Liam was obligated to earn his keep around the place.
That Liam horse would be put into rotation as a lesson horse. He would be an advanced lesson horse, since he had already proven his outstanding dressage capabilities with his previous owner.
The part of me that showed signs of a fracture when the beginning of the lies became apparent.........simply shattered under the enormous weight of her words.
The other owner reached over and placed her hand over mine. I quickly pulled it away, as if my flesh had been touched by red hot coals.
I tried taking a breath, but it wouldn't come. I placed my hand over my chest as if I was trying to feel if the piercing pain from the flying soul shrapnel did enough damage to cross over into physical realm and cause bleeding. I could feel my heart beating in my ears and there was a sound of faint ringing as well.
Nothing I could say, would change their minds. I wasn't skilled enough to handle him. Though our bond was very evident to them, I had to realize that he needed an advanced rider to "own" him.
I pleaded with them to just give me more time. I would pay any amount to buy him, just a little more time. I explained that he was still healing. That though his physical wounds were fading, his emotional emaciation had not yet been cured.
The owners' scoff told me everything I needed to know, in an instant. I ran from the house to the upper barn.
As if my emotions controlled the weather, the rain clouds finally let loose, and the tin roof on the upper barn sounded as if tomorrow we would see dents in it. I went to his stall.
Liam looked confused. I remember I couldn't look him in the face. He pushed his nose through the bars, just like he had done so many times before.
Through tears and choking on my words, I apologized to him, "I'm so sorry my love....that I can't save you from this fate, and I need to learn to not love you."
The whinny he let out as I ran as fast as I could out of that barn was enough to break any heart.
I got in my truck and drove forever. I cried, and I screamed, until there was nothing left to come out.
Why did I do this to myself? Why did I allow myself to fall in love with this creature? How did I trick myself into thinking that our time together was never ending?
My feelings confused me immensely, because I didn't want to own him. I never wanted to "own" him. My heart's desire was to let him know that undoubtedly there was another soul floating around in this dark and dank world that only wanted him to be happy. That there was another soul who truly loved him as the horse he was, as the horse he is, and as the horse he had yet to become......