There are places I want to run from …

… Even now, 70,000-ish words later.

Even now, with the cover finished and the final manuscript with a book editor.

Even now, as I write this.

There are places in my story that I want to run from. And they scare me.

They scare me because they make me vulnerable. And I want to shrink back.

Even now, 70,000-ish words later.

Even now, as I write this.

These are places that make me catch my breath … places I don’t intentionally brush up against, but ones that exist. They don’t haunt me; I’m not thinking about them all the time. But sometimes, in the small moments, we encounter each other.

Sometimes I am not brave.

Sometimes I try to be.

“How many horses did you have?” he asked.

I told him: “Six or seven. We sold five, though, because we couldn’t afford to keep them anymore.”

“How did you sell them?” he wanted to know.

I told him: “I took them to the auction barn by myself.”

“Alone! You’ve done so many things alone,” he said.

Then: “Why did you keep those two horses?”

I told him: “They were special.”

He wanted to know why they were special. I wanted to stop talking about them. But he is a good question-asker, and while we laid there, he softly asked questions and inside I wanted to steer the conversation away from this topic.

I haven’t talked about these horses much. I haven’t wanted to.

Then the question I knew was coming, but was dreading: “What happened to them?”

And my answer: “I don’t know. They did something with them.”

Another question.

Me, softly: “I don’t know. It hurts me to think too much about them.”

He laid quietly.

Inside my head was swirling memories and images and pictures of my brothers and their horses – those two horses – and the lives that they shared together. Gone now.

And I don’t know what happened to them. I could ask and they would tell me. But I don’t because I don’t feel brave enough for the answer.

Sometimes there are pieces of my story I still want to shield myself from.

Even now, 70,000-ish words later.

Even now, as I write this.

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