He Rode to Town on Friday
Today is Friday! An old mare chanted to herself. Friday is the day I get to ride into town with The Man. All of this was true. The horse herself was named Friday, and it was on Fridays that The Man brought her into town to do his business. This is how it had been for many years— ever since Friday outgrew her filly days. Friday was a sturdy, cream colored pony, with a straw yellow mane and a tail combed through with blue ribbon. On Thursdays, The Man would bring Thursday, the whiskery gray gelding, on Wednesdays, the jet black Wednesday, who was quite young, and a total firecracker next to Friday. So on and so forth, The Man had a horse for every day of the week, and the horses liked that arrangement just fine.
Eager after a week’s rest, Friday flicked her tail and pawed at the ground. She tolerated the mystifying straps around her head, because she knew it meant a long trip. She liked long trips because they always yielded her new sights.
This time around it seemed there would be extra sights all around. The Man saddled Friday with a few extra bags, and he even showed her the sugar jar he was stashing away for the trip. Sights and sugar jars always made an enticing combination.
The way into town was the same as it always had been. Friday always took in the birds as they flew overhead. She sometimes wondered what they might see from up there, but she was always forced to abandon the thought when it made her utterly nauseous. As eager as she was to see the world, she was terribly afraid of heights. She simply wouldn’t cut it as a high-flying avian.
The two of them, man and mare, made it into town in good time. The sun was still high in the sky, and the birds were still flying circles around them.
The pair checked into a stable, and The Man brought around the sugar jar for Friday to nibble from his hand. This was odd. In her many years of walking to and from town, week after week, she had never stopped at this place before. She was just grateful to have the sugar while she processed the newness of it all. Then The Man went just inside. Friday could still see him as he spoke to the stable manager, and she could even hear him, that is until he spoke a string of words that sent her quaking down to her hooves:
“I’ll be heading out on Monday.” Monday was the horse at the stable Friday was least friendly with. Her coat was pure white, mane and all, and she was a good deal younger than Friday. In her prime. Already she had seen many sights, as she was a young circus performer before she had settled on the ranch with Friday and The Man. There, she had mastered the art of flight. In her act, she glided through the air just like a swan, and night after night she performed for all manner of people— around all manner of sights. Friday was most jealous of the other mare, and now she was being totally replaced. If only she had known sooner.
The Man chatted a little longer before he moved on, completely out of sight. And then he was gone. Friday remained locked away in her new pen, and she knew he would never come back.
Well, he did come back. After a frightful weekend of being attended to by the unfamiliar stablehands of this new town, The Man showed up again looking as fresh as ever. No remorse, no more bags, and a wallet bulging with more cash than previously before. Friday, having lost all hope, could not tell if he was real or just a figure of a wishful imagination.
That figure of imagination saddled her up again, handed her a sugar cube, and rode her back out of town towards her ranch. She kicked her hooves and screamed with joy all the way back. Laughing, The Man noticed her good mood.
“Surely you didn’t think I was gonna leave you behind! It’s Monday, like I said.”
Friday had forgotten all about Monday. She didn’t care about the other mare anymore. Instead, she could only be filled with the pure relief of coming home again.