I killed Dayvie William Blake. Everyone I know says it wasn't my fault. It wasn't something I could have avoided or stopped, but they don't know the whole story. How could they? I have never told a soul the story of Dayvie Blake and what I did that caused his death.
My mother was always a passionate equestrian who grew up riding horses. Her younger days were filled with memories of the ponies she loved, owned, and competed with. As she got older she moved up to horses but life had gotten in the way of her taking it anywhere serious. She had stopped competing but still rode and from time to time owned or leased a horse here or there to get her horsie-fix.
Shortly before I was born she sold her horse at the time, knowing she wouldn't have the time for the animal as she'd be busy raising a child. She secretly was scared that the horse she sold was going to be her last. Having a child was hard, it would cost quite a lot to raise me right and that money was coming from what she usually spent on owning a horse or taking lessons. Never once did she tell my father those fears, not wanting him to feel guilty as I'm sure he would have. She didn't have to tell him though – he knew her well enough to tell all on his own.
It wasn't until I was around ten years old that I had my first personal experience with a horse, not counting those pony rides you can get a fairs or at some birthday party. By then I was not demanding so much of my mother's attention and my father had settled into a good job that brought in enough money to have us living comfortably with plenty of wiggle room. It wasn't a job he particularly enjoyed and to be honest I don't even remember what it was, but it kept us secure and to him that was all that matter. Even with the extra wiggle room my mother never brought up wanting another horse or the fact that she missed riding, not wanting to be the reason we were back to having just enough money to get by again. What she didn't know what that he was already planning to make that happen for her.
Many days during my father's courtship to my mother and the early years of their relationship was spent at the varies horse farms and equestrian centers my mother had kept her horses at – and along the way he had come to learn quite a lot about horses and the types my mother loved. Being the attentive man he was he still remembered after all those years later and was able to make my mother's 34th birthday the best she ever had.
He never told me what he was doing, probably because I was terrible at keeping secrets, and he did his best to keep this one from my mom. While my mother had no clue what he was up to both she and I had taken noticed to him being gone quite often the weeks leading up to her birthday. They trusted one another so she had no reason to believe his absence was related to an affair or anything of the sorts, she figured he was birthday shopping – always trying to top the year previous for both my mother and me as well. That year he was gone much more than usual though, which left my mom and I having quite a lot of guessing sort of situations, trying to figure out what he might be doing for her. Neither of us came even close.
It all became clear the afternoon of my mother's birthday. She had received a phone call from an old friend at the barn she used to ride at letting her know that they had done a full cleaning of their back tack room and found one of her bridles. My mom was convinced she had brought all her bridles home from the stable and put them in the basement when she sold Cooper, her last horse, but it was always possible she missed something. Hearing the conversation my father offered to take her by the farm on the way to a dinner reservation he had made.
"We'll have to pass the area on the way to dropping Jenna off at the baby sitter's anyway," He said, to which my mother nodded with a gentle smile. She did suspect a thing – she was just happy to be able to go the farm, pet a horse and see some old friends.
Upon arrival my father stepped out of the car, which I remember finding odd. She should just be in and out – go grab the bridle and come back. I was convinced something was up when he looked back at me and told me to get out of the car.
As a family we headed up to the big off-white barn (Which I remember questioning – aren't all barns supposed to be red?), my mother leading the way. It was winter time and they had the barn door closed to keep the bone chilling cold from coming into the barn aisle and freezing out both the workers and the horses. At least that's normally why a barn door is closed in the winter, this time there was another reason.
My mother opened the door and there was a loud outcry, "SURPRISE!" They screamed. The smile on my father's face was from ear to ear and the look of pure shock was sprawled across my mother's. In the middle of the barn, on cross ties, stood a tall chestnut horse. He had a long white blaze that ran from the middle of his head – right in between his eyes, down to his bottom lip – turning a soft pink over his muzzle and lips. His eyes were wide and his ears were alert as the loud shouts from the humans who surrounding him had put a little shock through his body, but he didn't spook. Around his neck was a large red bow with a big card that read, "Happy Birthday Helen!"
Tears ran down my mother's face as she hugged my father who had secretly bought her the horse and planned to have her friend call to cause a perfectly reasonable stop to the farm. She then brought her attention to meeting her new horse and thanking all of her friends who had helped my father find and pick the horse, which was probably the hardest task of them all.
That was when horses became a part of my life, and not so much in a welcoming way. My mother was a freelance writer and often had plenty of time to head off to the barn, since it was cheaper and easier to bring me along than get a sitter – I often went too. Knowing my mother liked challenges my dad didn't get her the calmest of horses, he was a young appendix gelding who needed a lot of work – perfect for my mom but unsuitable for me to ride. That of course meant my time at the barn meant no enjoyment for me. I was often asked to go get this or put this away or help my mom with this – all work and then to have to sit and watch her ride.
I remember it being boring, dreadful even for me as a kid. I know now that I should have been happy for my mom, it was something she had gone nearly 10 years without that she had spent nearly her whole life with. Of course she was excited and happy about it, but as a child it just seemed unfair to me.
As the years dragged on my mom had trained her gelding, who she named Noel, to be a gentle creature. Eventually I was allowed to ride him and my mother started teaching me how to ride a horse correctly. I'll admit it - that was when horses started being something of interest for me. Before they were just a hassle and an announcing in my life but riding was actually quite fun.
When it became apparent that I was enjoying riding my parents bought a second horse, another project for my mom, and gave Noel to me so I could go on trails and ride with my mom – plus it gave me something to do when I was there with her. I had grown to like riding but the work involved in it was not of interest to me. I found cleaning stalls or even a horse's hooves to be disgusting. You spend all this time being taught not to go near germs because they can make you sick.
Horse people apparently didn't get the memo.