A Familiar Animal

I must have been nine then, and remember it now more than ever. We were all sitting in a circle, just friends killing time, when one of my friends asked what animal did we all think we would be. When my turn came I didn’t have to think about it twice, and quickly said: A horse! Some laughed at my enthusiasm, some thought it was normal, just like all of the animals the others were mentioning, but I know now how special that moment was.

This would be just another childhood memory, like many others, but instead it became a special one because of what took place a year ago, an August afternoon I will never forget. I was spending the summer at my country house, keeping away from my hectic life at the city, trying to forget I would have to go back eventually, when a man walked in with two horses. He said hello, and quickly explained the reason for his visit, he was going around selling both of his horses. It was the end of the summer and he needed some money, he said as a vague explanation.

I looked at the horses and I couldn’t believe what I saw when I turned my eyes to the second one, it was like looking at myself, the horse was me. The horse must have noticed it as well, as he kept his eyes on me puzzled by the phenomenon we were both experiencing. I wondered if the man selling the horses could see it, but he clearly was not aware of what was taking place, and I was glad he wasn’t. The horse and I continued, looking at each other, recognizing in the other’s eye himself.

The man misunderstood the situation completely, and said he could tell I liked that horse, so he would give me a good price. Without thinking I gave him some money, said goodbye to the man, and was left with the horse, the horse who had my eyes, who knew what I was thinking even though he couldn’t say it, the horse that was me.

I knew I couldn’t tell anyone, I had no desire to be sent to a mental hospital, but I postponed my return to the city and stayed in the countryside, to spend time with the animal who was just like myself. I didn’t know what to tell the horse, he clearly knew what I was thinking, as he was thinking it too. So we spent the days and nights as two strangers who happened to be the same.

Until a week ago when I decided I couldn’t deal with it anymore, I couldn’t live with someone who was just like me, with someone who was myself but in a horse’s body, so I decided to leave, and of course when I went to look for the horse the horse was gone. He couldn’t deal with it either, or maybe he just wanted to be free, free of himself.

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