No more questioning. She was going to brood her theories, probably, before striking her best blow. He made for his room. After the battle, horses need a rest and proper tending and this one had done it’s job. Poor Martha, with her auburn hair, her freckles, and her kindness that had charmed him right from the start; so described, she might be thought the Muse of a Renaissance poet. And perhaps the problem was right there, in the fact that his interest in her was limited to literary canons of aestheticism and respectability. If someone had ever asked him to describe Martha further below her waist, he would have become completely blank. Anyway, Martha was the horse he took from the stable, when he in the guise of a naked Saint George, needed to charge against the fearful dragon, after which labour it certainly needed its rest.
He got into his room, closed the door and locked it. Exhaustion. He took off his clothes and, naked as a baby, he thrust himself into the bed, back down. It was then that something inside him “clicked” into the right place. He realized it had already began in class earlier that day, with Professor Barnes and his lecture. It struck him now, at last, by the fact that people act conditioned and know not why. It was after succeeding in avoiding more problems than those he already had that he asked himself why the hell was he running away from his shitty family. Suddenly, it felt so stupid to be afraid of them. What was the purpose of it all? Making sure of the continuation of his own misery?
They had been discussing Shakespeare’s Richard III. Well, in fact the professor had spoken most of the time. So much was said and so little, and, for Luke, another picture of the character had been taking shape in his head. Not so much the murdering uncle, coming to serve “a bloody supper in the Tower”, more like the frail, fictionalized face of the man moaning and licking his wounds in his tomb in the car park as he took pain over a reputation dragged through the mud for centuries. He had read the play, off course, and by the end, when Barnes’s lecture was coming to a close, he just wanted to shout: “For Christ’s sake, the man just wanted a bloody horse! Is that too much to ask?”
That thought now speared him through. He sat straight in the bed. He jumped from it and put on his clothes. He went to the door and opened it. As he approached the front door, the voice of his aunt came floating to him in musical tones, asking where he thought he was going.
‘Shut the fuck up, you bitch!’ he said without even raising his voice.
He didn’t look back, he walked out without even a glare backwards. Sometimes, when you know where you’re going, you don’t feel like the past holds any kind of key. Looking to the road is sometimes to look at every space in time. And in the end, the only thing you really need is a horse. Not eight yet, the clock was calling. He knew where he was going. As he came out into the street and the cold air, he opened his arms and shouted, felt the slender rain drops falling on his face. He smiled, and thought:
“A horse, a horse! My kingdom for a horse!”
Tomás Ferreira (Get Real. culture editor)
This series, entitled “A Horse!” is in 8 parts. This is part 8/8.