The Shoeless Horse, Episode 30: The Reckoning

Duchess had disappeared forever- she was cremated at the vet’s and Bonnie didn’t get her ashes. Nothing of her smart, controversial dog remained except a couple of leashes and her empty bowl.

It was odd- when she was sixteen, when she still had her dog and before she sought out a horse, she’d nearly lost her mind when her boyfriend from Vancouver had told her he was moving to the States. She couldn’t eat; she cried and stayed in bed and upset her little sister with her mourning and despair. Her weight plummeted.

In her first few months at Centennial High School, the depression became entrenched. She had no friends at this school, and she felt useless.

‘What good am I?’ she asked herself again and again.

She thought for several nights about killing herself. Her mother’s medicine cabinet, loaded since the mid-1960s with medications for migraine headaches and other mysterious ailments, would surely provide help.

In the end, Bonnie saved her own life with cowardice.

She preferred to think that, indirectly, her mother saved her. Her mother saved her by – as usual- making Bonnie feel guilty before she’d even done anything.

She knew the only suicide method she might have the courage to use would be those pills. If Bonnie took a cupful of pills and was found dead, her already beleaguered mother would be upset. The object of the exercise was not to hurt Ada; the object was to end her own useless life.

Despite all the trouble she caused, and all the nights she’d awakened her tired parent with her worries, Bonnie knew that her mother loved her. She couldn’t see a way to kill herself without causing her mother great and lasting pain, and Ada already had enough to cope with.

Still miserable, she’d gradually given up on the idea.

Later, she’d set the plans in motion to acquire the horse. It was so exciting at first- a dream come true. Then the equine problems had surfaced, and since then, a whole series of awful things had happened.

One of her brothers seemed to hate her. (‘Noise,’ Brock said to her decades later. ‘All I remember was that when you were around, there was so much noise.’)

The other brother frequently went missing at night. Their mother was stressed. Their father, on and off, was either missing or acting crazy at home. Her little sister seemed to like her, but was always busy. Duchess was dead, and Bonnie was now convinced the horse needed to be dead too – even though he looked as wonderful as ever, flourishing under the care he received at the stable.

Yet, Bonnie did not fall into another depression. So much was happening, she was simply in survival mode. At night, she sometimes drove to see her friend Len in his  apartment on the forested side of town, where she listened to music, read his poetry and soaked up the sympathy he offered.

Bonnie went to work every day now at a Roast Beef sandwich restaurant that ironically, was named after the original cause of her horse fever- Roy Rogers.

Bonnie was working as a cashier at Roy Rogers Family Restaurant. The salary helped pay a small amount toward the family bills, and of course Hogan’s boarding stable fee.

It hadn’t been that hard to work around the horrible decision Bonnie had made.

For now, her horse was contented and cared for. She still had time- a few more weeks- to gather her courage. It seemed it would take every ounce she had to deal  with this:  yet another event in her life that she’d never in her eighteen years expected, not even in her worst nightmares.


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