Georgia Moonbeams
Chapter 13

Copyright© 2021 by Mark Elias

“So, Alex, I’m to understand that you’ve had a rather eventful week.”

I actually laughed as Dr. Markov took her customary seat across from me. It was the following day, and I’d already had an appointment scheduled with my therapist. I hadn’t yet spoken to Allison about her time away at camp, since her dad really did end up needing her help the rest of the day.

“I guess you could say that.”

“Why don’t we start there today? It’s still fresh on your mind. Then we’ll go back and talk about some other things.”

She had me start by going over the entire day. I had to go all the way back to why I was avoiding Sam in the first place, which also meant I had to go back and share more about who Jake Pollard was and why I had such an issue with him. Nothing in my life was ever easy. Dr. Markov wasted no time in trying to dig deep into what I was thinking. After I had finished sharing with her the last of the details about taking Applejack back to my house, she immediately asked me questions that I didn’t really know the answer to.

“Alex, tell me what was going through your mind when Sam fell off?”

I thought for a second, “I don’t know, really. I’m not trying to avoid the question, I just don’t really know what I was thinking.”

“Okay, let me approach it from a different angle. When everything happened, what was the first thing you thought about? Was it Sam’s well-being or getting Applejack?”

That was an easy question, “Of course, it was Sam. I could see her bleeding. I wanted to make sure she was okay.”

“Did you give any thought to Applejack at the time?”

“I mean, yeah, but I knew, or at least I thought I knew, that he wasn’t hurt. I didn’t know how bad Sam had been hurt.” I was starting to get a little annoyed at the way she was asking the questions. I wasn’t some heartless monster who didn’t care about people. “Why are you even asking me that?” My annoyance showed clearly. I never was that good as masking my emotions. I thought I was, but I was as transparent as could be.

“I want you to notice something about yourself. You have admitted that you’re a bit antisocial. You don’t like interacting with a lot of people and you CLAIM that it’s because you don’t like people.”

“What would you have wanted me to do? Let her lay there and bleed while I finished painting a damn fence?!”

“Please calm down, Alex. That’s not what I’m saying at all. You had a lot of options available to you at the time. You could have stayed where you were and called for help. You could have done a lot of things, but your first instinctive reaction was to immediately care for someone. What I want you to ask yourself is this. Are you antisocial because you don’t care for others? Are you antisocial because you are afraid of what others will think of you? Or is it something else?”

I calmed down as she made me actually think for a bit, “What else would it be?”

“Well it’s obvious from our sessions that you don’t have a very high self-esteem. On the surface it seems like you are trying to protect yourself, but when the need arose, your first instinct was to care for someone else, before anything else. You jumped into a situation and responded heroically. Then you kept going because you valued the life of a horse over the discomfort you may feel later from your ankle.” She stopped me as I almost interrupted her. “Perhaps the reason you are antisocial is that you actually care for others more than yourself?”

“I’m not following you.”

“What I’m saying is that you think so little of yourself that, in your mind, if you become friends with someone that you will bring them down, somehow. You think you aren’t worthy enough of them and that if you were to become friends with them you would make their life less than what it should be.”

“Maybe?”

“Try to remember the first time you saw Allison. We’ve talked about her a lot, and I know you remember that day fondly right?” I nodded in agreement. It was one of those days that would forever be branded in my mind. “Now think back to why you didn’t go up to try and talk to her that first day.”

“She already had a bunch of people around her. She was making friends already, including Jennifer Hansen.”

“So by introducing yourself, you would have brought her down.”

I wanted to respond, but there was something about her words that struck me.

“I just want you to think about that. I want you to consider the type of person who would have done what you did. You reacted on gut instinct and rescued a beautiful damsel in distress,” She laughed a bit, having a bit of fun with me while making me think, “and then you also rescued her horse.”

Before I could say anything, she was ready to move on, “Now last time we were here I gave you some homework. You were supposed to share one fact with your parents, Jason and Allison. How did that work out for you?”

“Oh, just great!” I rolled my eyes and let the sarcasm saturate every word I said. “Thanks to you and your awesome homework, I am now going to be trying out for the baseball team in January! Because who knew that I could throw a ball a little further than everyone else?”

She only laughed, “Okay, let’s start there then.”

Mr. Moon had given me the day off, but I really didn’t feel like doing anything else except for being at the ranch. After we left Dr. Markov’s office, and stopped for a quick lunch, I had Mom drop me off at Allison’s house. When I knocked on her door, I could tell she wasn’t expecting me to come by. This may have been one of the first times I had just shown up at her house. Usually it was the other way around. At least twice a week she would show up at the house randomly, usually riding the Polaris through the fields and trails to reach my house. She would just stop by to hang out, sometimes staying late enough that my mom or dad would drive her back so she didn’t have to drive back in the dark. On those days I would always bring the Polaris back the next morning.

So when I showed up at her door I could tell she wasn’t expecting me. She met me at the door wearing a pair of loose cotton shorts and an old shirt that I seemed to remember her having worn before.

“Alex! Hey!” She didn’t even have to wait to invite me in. She simply opened the door and it was just expected that I was going to come in and sit a while.

“Is that one of my old shirts?”

She reached up and put an errant strand of curly blonde hair behind her ear and looked down. “Oh, yeah. I was over at your house before I left for camp. I was helping your mom in the kitchen and spilled something on my shirt. She gave me this to wear. It’s comfortable so I’ve been sleeping it in.”

I took in her form for a second. Her hair was even more messy than it normally was. It was wild and fell down her neck like individual blonde flames. She didn’t have any makeup on, not that I ever thought she needed it. The shirt she wore of mine fell down and covered the shorts I knew she had on. I could tell from the way the shirt flowed that she wasn’t wearing a bra, not that she needed one entirely. Allison had always been lithe. She just barely had enough swelling in her chest to let you know she was all woman. She was beautiful and I once again found myself being distracted by her bright green eyes.

“I’m surprised to see you here. I thought I’d have to come over later and steal you away. What brings the new local hero by?” I shook my head, hoping she hadn’t caught me staring at her. She was my friend, and nothing more than that, but I couldn’t help but see how pretty she was.

“Don’t call me that. I didn’t do anything.”

“Don’t be modest, Alex. You’re all Lou and Dad have been talking about. I think Sam’s mom is about ready to marry her to you from the way she was talking last night.”

“You talked to them?”

“After we got the horse groomed and we made sure Applejack was comfortable, me, my dad and Lou went to go visit Sam after she got home.”

“How is she?”

‘She’s good. She was speechless when we told her that you refused to let my dad go after her horse commanded my dad to stay with her while you led Lou out for Applejack.”

“That’s not how it happened. Besides it didn’t make sense for your dad to go looking. Sam needed a doctor and I couldn’t do anything about it. And I saw which way Applejack went so it made sense. I just pointed that out.”

She laughed, “Yeah, well, good luck trying to get my dad to tell the story that way. Anyway, everything okay? Not that I’m not glad you’re here, but I usually have to come to your house.”

I smiled, putting the frightening thought of being referred to as a hero towards the back of my mind. “Yup! Everything’s good. Go get dressed. You’ve got to tell me about how camp was, and I want to go riding.”

“Alright, gimme a few minutes.”

It took us over an hour to actually ride to the clearing. It wasn’t actually that long of a ride, but we were running all around. Allison may not have developed the same love for horses that her father had, but she did love HER horse and she enjoyed riding. Her horse, Gypsy Rose, was a chestnut tovero paint that was about 10 years old.

{Note: https://i.pinimg.com/474x/e1/d7/f6/e1d7f6cd8301578565b687cfa8bee3ad.jpg }

Allison and I hadn’t ridden together in a long time. In fact as I was running behind her, watching her own curly hair blowing in the breeze like a horse’s mane, I couldn’t ever recall a moment where the two of us had just gone out riding. Since reconnecting we’d spent a lot of time together and we were more than making up for the time that we had lost, but this was something new for us.

“Why haven’t we done this before?” I asked as we tied the horses off.

“What do you mean? We’ve come to the clearing lots of times. We came just before I left for camp, remember?”

I shook my head, “Not that. I mean gone riding. I don’t think we’ve ever gone riding with just the two of us.”

I could tell I had her thinking. “I don’t think we ever have. I mean last summer when you were working, I tried to stay away. I mean I WANTED to come hangout with you, but you were always mad at me and I didn’t want to upset you.”

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I mean, yeah it sucked that I couldn’t be there when you were learning to ride, but it’s in the past. Once we were friends again things just got so busy that we haven’t had the chance. You started working and right after that I was gone to camp.”

“Well, we need to do more of it. Like at least once a week we need to try and go riding.”

She gave me a shy little smile but turned to look out over the pond where a flock of geese had decided to stick around for the summer, “Yeah, we do.”

“So how was camp?”

“It was mostly fun.”

“Mostly?”

“I mean I’ve been going since I was a little girl. I’ve met a lot of friends at camp, most of them I’m still fairly close to, even if we don’t live close by. Most of us have been coming for years. This year was supposed to be our last year of all coming to the camp. All of us in our little group are going to be freshmen next year. We know that things won’t stay the same. Summers will be different soon. We will either be working, doing sports, or dealing with boyfriends.”

“So it was a little bittersweet?”

“Yeah.”

We sat in silence for a bit. Shortly after we found the place, we’d bought a waterproof bag and hung it from one of the trees. Inside the bag we kept a blanket and a few throw pillows that we would use to just lay on while we talked. Today I lay down with the pillows under my head and Allison was laying perpendicular to me, using my stomach as her pillow.

“Does high school scare you, Alex?”

“Everything scares me,” I tried to joke with her, I could tell that something was on her mind.

“I’m serious.”

I sighed, absentmindedly letting my fingers run through the locks of her hair. “Of course it does. I mean we both know how much I hate meeting new people. I don’t deal with confrontation well. What’s going to happen when I have to meet not just a few new people, but a hell of a lot of new people. There are times I wonder who the next bully is going to be. Is it going to be Jake? What am I going to screw up next? I mean, things have been going pretty good for me lately. Seems like I’m just waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

She was quiet for a while, “I don’t want to lose you again, Alex. We were friends all through elementary school. Yeah I had other friends, but you were the one closest to me. You were my best friend. We NEVER fought in elementary school. Then we reached middle school and we had one fight and we didn’t talk for almost three years.” She reached up and wiped a tear away from her cheek, “I can’t go through that again. Promise me, Alex. Promise me that we won’t fight any again.”

I continued to run my hands through her hair and thought about what she said. To me it seemed like only a few seconds but I guess I must have been quiet for a while because she was poking me, looking for a response.

“Sorry, I was just thinking.”

“That’s what worries me. You get to thinking and you don’t tell me what’s going on. That’s what led to our fight.”

I sighed as I sat up, wanting to look her in the eyes when I spoke, “Allison, I can’t promise that we won’t fight. I’m sure that I will end up doing something that will piss you off. And I’m sure at some point you’ll say something that I will take completely out of context and I’ll fly off the deep end and say something I’ll regret. So we can’t make that promise. So how about this. Instead we promise to never go to sleep angry with each other. We will call each other, come to the other’s house, or do whatever we need to do. But we won’t go to bed angry.”

Then she hugged me again. I don’t know what it was about her but there was just a feeling of warmth when I was with her. I didn’t get it with anyone else. Oh, I had plenty of attraction to other girls. I was a growing boy and had thoughts about lots of girls, but none of them ever compared to Allison. It wasn’t love. It was something that was beyond that. It wasn’t romance. It was something much more. I couldn’t explain it. Maybe one day I could.

“We should get back. I promised Mom I’d help with dinner tonight.” She stood up smiling, looking like whatever had been bothering her was gone. “By the way, you’ve really impressed my dad.”

“I have?”

“Oh most definitely. He called you the son he always wanted the other day.”

“WHAT?! Allison I’m so sorry! Why would he say that?!” I was concerned that she would feel I was replacing her.

“Don’t be sorry.” She laughed. “My dad and I have a wonderful relationship. I know he loves horses. It’s always been his dream to have a horse farm. He knows that I love Gypsy Rose, but also knows that I’m not passionate about the same things that he is. So we meet in the middle. We share our passions with each other. He always makes time for me. At least once a week we have a daddy and daughter dinner. It’s a little tradition we have.”

“Then why does he think of me like a son?”

“He’s always wanted someone to share his passion with. Having your dad around is great because the two of them can talk about horses, but it’s more clinical than anything. My dad says with you, he sees something different.” She looked at me as we untied the horses. I helped her into her saddle before handing her the reins to my horse and popped up into the saddle. “You really like the horses, don’t you?”

I thought for a few seconds, then replied, “Yeah, I do. I mean last summer I just came over to make some money. I didn’t really think about horses at all. Then as I started watching them, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them.”

“I’ve seen the way you are with them. I mean I know I don’t help out a lot around the ranch. My dad has never asked me to do that. I know what to do if I’m needed, but if others can get paid to do it and I can enjoy being a teenage girl, then that’s fine by me. I’ll take care of my horse, though. But I’ve come by the farm before and saw you. Even when we were fighting, I slipped by a few times. I stayed out of sight so I wouldn’t make you mad. I could see how you were with them. You’re really gentle and they trust you.”

“You think I’m good with them?”

“Lou can’t stop singing your praises. He keeps mentioning to my dad about having you start to train your own horse. He thinks you’re ready.”

“Really?!”

She nodded, “Don’t tell him I said this, but I think he likes you better than Hector.”

The ride back was quicker. We didn’t waste as much time knowing that she needed to help her mom and I was going to need a ride home. When we got back to the barn, we groomed the horses, and she grabbed the keys to the Polaris to run me home. When I walked in the door, I knew something was wrong. My mom and dad were sitting on the couch with several papers in front of them. On the chair to their left was Mr. Smith, our lawyer.

“Alex, come in.” My mom began. She had a serious tone in her voice, and I could hear inflections of concern as well.

“Hello, Alex.” Mr. Smith shook my hand before I sat in the chair opposite of him.

“Son, you told us not too long ago that you wanted to be kept aware of what’s going on in the case.” My dad began. “Well, some things have happened.”

“Mark’s getting off isn’t he!”

“That’s not it at all, Son. Just calm down a bit, okay. Breathe and relax.” I nodded to my dad as he continued. “Mark is still going to have to face criminal charges. The DA did offer him a plea deal but they didn’t take it. His lawyer is some hotshot who thinks he has a better case than he actually does.”

 
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