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You were lost, p.1
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       You Were Lost, p.1

           Kayla Hunt
 
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You Were Lost
You Were Lost

  By Kayla Kelly

  **********

  Jasmine pulled on her stetson while sitting atop her horse as she watched the sun disappear. The sun was a feeble, wavering, red sun that had scorched the day leading up to this point. Dead grass, dying trees, and withering flowers all relayed the story of the last month. Everything was scalded, scorched, burned and parched until they finally gave up and died. Few plants remained.

  Solemnly watching the last of the sun, she turned her horse with a twist of her wrist, a simple reining trick she'd reluctantly taught the skittish mare. Jasmine and her horse headed off, home-bound in the night.

  While Jasmine un-tacked and brushed her mount, who was affectionately named Patches, she reminisced. So much had happened, that time was expansively packed with details and unknown, twists, surprises and ridiculous unexpected events.

 

  Now, as the reader, you may be wondering who Jasmine is, and what she's thinking when she remembers events, faces, and places that occured in the timespan. To understand the story from this point, I must recap for you.

 

  Let's begin at the beginning, because the beginning of a story is not always in the beginning of what you think is the story. That beginning is just a precluding beginning of the beginning of the beginning. All of this to further create a true beginning.

  Jasmine Conners strolled casually through town, one arm pinioning her books between her arm and her side, the other tucked (as an idiosyncrasy) in her pocket, fingers wrapped around two carrots. She was wearing a hunter green jacket over a t-shirt. It was definitely cold in Springer, New Mexico. These conditions were expected in winter in the mountains of Sangre De Cristo. While they are not considered "cold" in other parts of the world, the inhabitants of Springer considered them near snow (although the lowest temperature for the whole winter was 50 degrees) Jasmine crossed through a park, yet further away from town, finally coming into sight of the huge brown barn she'd come to love so much. Since Jasmine acquired a job there in the last month, I had gotten to know her very well. I own the barn, and am it's primary manager. I made it a point to reward Jasmine for her relentless work effort, she never owned a horse, but she'd fallen in love with one particular Tennessee walker named Jewels. Jewels' owner never paid much attention to her, but he spent most of his time on his other draft horse. Jewels needed Jasmine as much as Jasmine needed her. As much as I knew about Jewels, I knew from the moment the two rode together that they had something I'd never have, it was silently passing between them. The simulations between the horse and girl were improbable, yet I watched them both and was overwhelmed with simultaneity. From bushy black hair to spirit of a servant, from sensitive teeth to loving western saddles, though their birthmarks were not even humanly possible that the two should end up in the same square mile, being as alike as they were. A white diamond marked Jewels' mane, and consequent of the proximity to the mane left a white streak through the thick black mane. Jasmine's birthmark was a brown diamond above her ear, leaving a brown streak in her thick black hair.

  Unfortunately, all fairy tale scenarios that work their way (however painstaking the sacrifice to get them there) into real life must disintegrate and die. Jewels' owner feared the connection between girl and horse, he knew she might actually offer to buy the mare; thence how could his refusal be valid? Surely all those who knew Jewels as well as himself knew they were not competent partners, as well as that the girl was far better suited for the mare than himself. Thus, he bought a farm and proceeded to move Jewels to this place which, in his mind, was a safe haven. Jasmine, though she would not admit it, was of a broken spirit the next month. She took the name marker off of Jewels' stall and hung it in her room. It struck sadness in her heart every time she let her thoughts wander towards that mare. I can not give a fortunate resolution to this. She never saw Jewels again. When Jasmine was 21 years old, having completed college, and her degree in Equine Psychology, she left her parents house to live on a farm of her own. Her older brother Jason came to visit her before she'd finished unpacking. The first thing he saw, upon entering her thus far barren of furniture room, was one thing on the wall. A picture frame around a dusty old tag that said "Jewels". "You kept that thing?" He asked. "That horse is long gone."

  "Ha! Jason." she laughed in his face "She's not gone. She's somewhere. Dead or alive, she's somewhere"

  Jason thought this a fool's prospect.

 

  One day, Jasmine met Mr. Right and fell in love. She married him. Her Mama cried on her wedding day. Furthermore Jasmine lead a wonderful life. She loved her barn, she had the most wonderful friends, and always, always remembered that mare named Jewels. Her husband, named John, always took good care of her and worked hard. Unfortunately, the economy took a serious toll on her husband's job, so Jasmine had to begin work. Of course, only one occupation really interested her, that being the study of animals. Thanks to her college experience, she had no difficulty in finding a place to hire her. She began work at a zoo just outside of town. She appeared at work at 4am every morning to feed the mammals of the jungle. One day, she arrived a little early, and was enjoying time with a monumental giraffe. Alternatively, Jasmine talked to the animals. "Hey," she began "I was thinking about my daughter a lot. She loves horses as much as I do. I wish she'd known Jewels." the giraffe reached down to lick her shoulder. Jasmine just sat there and let him, she was too deep into thought to care. "I've told her the story behind that plaque on my wall. I suppose she'll never understand that relationship as well as I do." Jasmine rose to her feet slowly, a little surprised at the saliva ridden condition of her jacket. Closing the gate behind her, she continued to the reptile cages. A fellow employee of the zoo was already there feeding them. "Cole? You're here early." she greeted Cole with more of a question then a typical greeting. He grimaced. "Couldn't sleep." He shrugged. "I uh.. how long have you been here?" expertly twisting the explanation into a question poised at Jasmine. "I've been here since 4, my usual time"

  "No, like how long have you been standing there?"

  "I just walked in, why?"

  He mumbled "Nothing" looking down at his feet and absentmindedly kicking the dirt.

  "Is there something I almost saw that I shouldn't have?" inquired Jasmine

  He looked up, a little surprised.

  "Not that you shouldn't have seen... I.. it's just weird, that's all." then mumbled something about reputations and his character. "I uh...." he contemplated for a moment "I was talking to.." he trailed off, but she did hear him murmur "the animals." She laughed out. "Cole, had you walked past the giraffe field about five minutes ago, you'd have seen me talking to a giraffe."

  The sun was just starting to battle against the dark and work it's way over the horizon. The delicate pink and vibrant orange tinges made this the most beautiful time in the morning. She began her morning shift with Cole and another girl at 6am. She strolled back through the reptile house on her way out, and that was the last anyone saw Jasmine Conners for a long time.

  Being so close to that family now, I took in the children while their father was working. They already knew how to ride, I was quite impressed. Their mother taught them well, well.. I taught their mother, so I suppose *I* taught them well. They were a 14 year old girl and her 18 year old brother. His name was Terry, he could pretty much fend for himself, and wasn't fond of horses. I never had them long, maybe an hour or so every other day. Jason Conners, their Uncle, took them for a good portion of the day. He lived in Colorado by himself, although following up the disappearance of his sister he came to live with his parents in Springer. But back to her children. I took the girl to buy her own horse. I knew it would help her cope with the stress she was feeling. We walked into the auction sh
ortly after it had started. The brought up blood bays, huge Suffolk punches, skinny ponies, and moderate thoroughbreds. None of which impressed her. Nearing the end of the auction, when most of the people had left with their purchases, they started dipping into their stock of old horses and least impressive coats. I offered to come back tomorrow, these weren't horses I would have chosen from. Just when I thought she was getting too tired to hold her head up, she saw a horse that caught her attention and captivated her. I was so exuberant about the low price and healthy horse that I bought that mare for her in the amount of time it took her to sneeze. We went home in my truck, which was lazily pulling the horse trailer behind us over bumpy back roads and twisting lanes. She talked and babbled the whole way home. I didn't think about waking her when she finally fell asleep half way there. I unloaded the mare and let her run around my front field for about an hour, the kid watched her with an awe I'd only ever seen between her mother and Jewels. When the horse calmed down, I walked towards her with a lead rope. We tacked her and had them riding in another ten minutes. I let them off the
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