Just another Monday. Man, I hated Mondays. The only thing worse than Mondays were Tuesdays because they just reminded me that I still had a long way to go and one day hadn’t made it any better. I sat at my desk and slouched, leaning my head against my hand. The teacher, Ms. Evers, droned on, not paying attention to anything but the board in front of her.
Soon, my head slipped and I let my head thump against the desk. I give up, first hour Honors Algebra 2 is just plain stupid. It’s not hard, just boring, especially since it was all review from Algebra 1 for now. Blaaah…
“Psst. Psst! Ginger!” I heard a whisper behind me. It was Nolan. He was in 3 of my classes and was positively the most annoying person I knew.
“What?” I hissed.
“Do you understand what’s going on?”
“Then can you help me?”
“C’mon. Just on this one problem!”
He was also the densest. “No.”
“Please Ginger! You’re like the smartest girl in class! Can’t you at least tell me the answer?”
“Pay attention in class and you’ll get the answer! Just shut up already!” I exclaimed a bit too loudly.
“Ginger!” Ms. Evers scolded me, “Do not talk in class. You’re lovers quarrel with Nolan can wait until after the lesson.”
“W-what?! He started it! And we’re not lovers!”
“Do not talk back to your teacher, young lady! Or do you want me to send you to the office?”
“No, Ms. Evers.” I mumbled.
“Good,” and she turned back to the board and continued scribbling numbers across it’s surface.
“Psst, Ginger!” I heard Nolan’s voice behind me again.
“Oh just shut the hell up, would you!!” I shouted at him, turning around.
“Ginger! To the office NOW!” Ms. Evers exclaimed.
I groaned and collected my stuff while she wrote me a pass to the office. I took it and walked out the door into the hallway. The hallway was desolate besides the occasional student heading towards the bathroom. This was the third time I had been sent to the principal’s office this month and my parents weren’t happy. I don’t think they enjoyed 2 rebellious children, but I wasn’t rebellious! I just seemed to say the wrong things at the wrong times…
It seemed like forever until I reached the principal, Mr. Grimaldi’s office. I creaked open the door to find him frivolously typing away on his computer. He was a tall man and in a way attractive, in an adultish principal way. His dark hair was always ruffled up as though he had never seen a comb and he had the illusion of being 10 years younger than he really was. The worst part was that he seemed like he would be such a cool and nice principal, but he was totally bipolar.
One minute he totally cool with you skipping out on homework and talking back to the teacher and the next second he was crapping kittens because your empty milk carton didn’t make it into the garbage bin.
“Um, hi Mr. Grimaldi,” I said as I walked in the door.
“Ah Ginger. Welcome back. What did you do this time?” he said and propped his feet up on his cluttered desk. I awkwardly glanced at the numerous pictures he had posted on the wall behind him. I didn’t get the point, they all had nothing to do with each other…
I handed him the slip and he read it over. “Disrupting class, talking back, hmmm…” He muttered, “So why were you disrupting class?”
“Uh, well, I was sitting in class quietly and behind me, Nolan Brinkman started trying to get me to help him with the math while Ms. Evers was clearly explaining it on the board.”
“So what is it you did that disrupted?”
“I, um, yelled at him to shut the hell up…” Mr. Grimaldi’s expression turned darker, “But it was for good reason! He wouldn’t stop pestering me and distracting me and-“
“That’s enough, Ginger.”
“I said that ENOUGH! You think you can just waltz around this school doing and saying whatever you please and then blame others!? That’s completely unacceptable! Detention twice a week for 2 weeks.” He said.
“W-What?! You can’t be serious-“
“I’m very serious, Miss Rose. Detention Tuesdays and Thursdays starting tomorrow. Be there right after school. You’re dismissed.”
There was no use in saying anything else so I hung my head and walked out the door. The bell rang and the hallways were flooded, but I felt like I was moving in slow motion among the hundreds of students on their way to second hour. How am I going to explain this to my parents? Nervous thoughts flooded through my head. I stuffed my earbuds into my ears and turned up the music to flood out my thoughts until the day was over.
After school was over, I didn’t go home. I got on my bike that I rode to school rather than the nasty bus and rode in the opposite direction. I had a destination in mind. It didn’t take long for me to reach it.
I stopped in front of April Glass’s house and April was already outside, tending to Knight. He whinnied in pleasure.
“Ginger, darling! It’s so good to see you again! Is your mother here?”
“No, it’s just me today.”
She smiled, “You’re here to see the horses I presume?”
“Yup!” I grinned.
“Well they’re right here,” she gestured towards Knight and Desi standing in the front yard with her.
She grinned, “I thought you’d want to see her. She wandering around in the backyard.”
I thanked her and walked around to the back of the house. I found Raven trotting around in the grass, seeming happy to be alone. Well that is until I came along.
She heard my footsteps immediately and she froze, staring at me.
“Hey, Raven.” I said to her. She snorted and walked away. I ran in front of her and she stopped again, staring me down.
“Hey there, Raven. So we sort of got off to a bad start before. I know you don’t really care for people but-” She snorted at me again before I finished my sentence then trotted away.
“Hey, wait!” I called and chased after her, “Hold on!” She picked up the speed just a bit and kept running. I couldn’t keep up. That was when I noticed she was just running in circles, tormenting me. I could practically hear her laughing as she circled around me. My anger began to build.
“That’s it!” I shouted, “Just stop already! I get it! You’re better and faster and I get that you don’t like people, I’m not a huge fan of them either, but that’s no reason to act like a jerk to me! I’ve been through a lot of crap today, and I don’t need a horse to make it worse! Can’t you just accept one person? Even if it’s not me! Geez…” I don’t know why I was so angry. I felt stupid because I had just been lecturing a horse. I looked around to see if anyone had just seen what I’d done, but the area seemed clear. I breathed a sigh a relief.
That was when I noticed Raven. She had stopped circling me and was watching me closely.
“Hey…” I said to her.
She snorted and to my surprise, started walking towards me. I didn’t move and watched intently as she approached me. She walked around me and sniffed me sort of like a dog would. Then she nudged me in the back.
I was completely unprepared for her to nudge me and I tripped forward. I turned around in awe and she nudge me again, snorting. I could’ve sworn she was laughing at me again.
I smiled “Well you just like tormenting me, don’t you? Or was it my lecture that brought you around?” I wondered if she would let me pet her. I held out my hand and slowly stroked her snout. She didn’t break away. I walked closer and stroked her strong neck. She didn’t fight me or run away like I expected.
“See, I’m not so bad, am I?” I stroked her back and couldn’t help but imagine riding her into the sunset. Of course I’d never really ridden a horse before. I glanced around, looking to see if there was a saddle or saddle blanket nearby, but spotted nothing.
I heard rustling and I whipped around to see April walking into the backyard, “Hey, Ginger! Any luck with Raven?”
“Um, kinda?” I wanted to jump up and down and tell her about my accomplishment and how she nudged me and Raven almost tolerates me, but I couldn’t really find the words to express what I wanted to say.
“Kinda? Well, she’s still here and hasn’t run to the front yard, so I guess we have one victory,” she laughed.
“Um, hey April? You know how to ride horses right?”
“Of course. Let me guess, you want to learn?”
“Yeah, if that’s okay with you?”
“It sounds great! Let’s get started!”
“No time like the present!” she said before turning around and walking towards the other side of the house, “Just let me get some equipment, why don’t you go reacquaint yourself with Knight, because you’re going to be riding him.”
“Sure!” I felt the excitement building. Once she was out of sight I turned to Raven and slowly petted her snout, “I guess I won’t be able to ride you yet. But I will one day, I can promise you that.” She snorted and shook her head as if to say, “Good luck with that.”
“Ginger!” April called as she came out from around the side of the house. She was carrying a bucket filled with stuff, a blanket, and a saddle. She dropped the bucket in front of me and set the saddle and blanket down. I looked in the blanket and found 2 large hand brushes and a small metal tool with a curved hook on it. I picked up the hook, “What’s this for?”
“Cleaning his hooves. If you’re going to learn to ride a horse, you have to learn how to take care of a horse.” She took the hook from me and walked over to Knight, lifted up his back hoof, and proceeded to scrape out the hard packed dirt on the inside, then she turned to me, “Here, you give it a try.” I took the tool and went to Kinght’s other back hoof and began to mimic her actions, scraping out the dirt.
Once I had gotten around to all the hooves and cleaned out all the dirt, April handed me the large hand brush and took one in her own hand and began gently brushing Knight’s neck, gesturing for me to do the same on the other side. We brushed and by the time we had gotten to Knight’s flank, my arm started to hurt. I switched hands on the brush and shook my arm out.
“Arm hurting?” April smiled, she had already finished brushing. I nodded in response. “Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it. Now come with me.” She said and walked towards the side of the house where quickly realized the stables were at. We stopped at the first stable and I wasn’t surprised when she handed me a shovel.
“I’m poop-scooping aren’t I?”
“Yup,” she laughed, “Just dump it in that wheelbarrow there.” I sighed and began scooping. By the time I had gotten to the last stable, it was dark outside and both my back and arms hurt. I stretched out and walked out of the last stable. “Finished?” April asked.
“Yeah, I think so.” She walked into each stable and surveyed my work. I didn’t realize I was nervous until she approached me.
“Well, you did great work Ginger. I’m surprised, I didn’t hear a single complaint while you were working. I can’t have a stable-hand with a bad mouth.”
“What? Stable-hand? You mean you want me to work for you?”
“Well, sure! Why not? Do you not want the job?”
“Oh no! Of course I want the job!” I assured her.
“That’s good. I love taking care of my darling horses, but I’ve got a lot of things to do during the day and can’t spend it scooping poo, you know?”
“I understand. When should I come in?”
“Weekdays after school should be fine,” She replied, “Soon we can get to riding.” She checked the time, “Oh you better get going, it sure is late.” I smiled and agreed.
“Bye April! See you tomorrow!” I called as I biked away into the darkness.