Me and Slim Against the World
I let out a sigh as I walk out to the bus stop. My sweet strawberry roan paint gelding, Slim lets out a nicker to me. I give him a kiss on the muzzle as the bus pulls to a stop in front of my house. The doors open and I climb up the stairs.
"Morning hunny," says Miz Mikki the bus driver.
I scan the bus for my best friend Bridget, then my heart drops. Bridget is sitting next to a girl with long blonde hair and a face of makeup. Bridget looks up and sees me. When she does, her face falls.
"Oh, hi Kelly," says Bridget in a monotone voice.
"Hey Bri," I say trying to stay calm, "Who's this?"
"Oh," says the blonde, "I'm Heather."
"Cool," I say, "Bridget, did you bring my lunch money?"
"Kelly!" says Heather, "I didn't know you couldn't afford lunch!"
"Um... I can afford lunch. Bridget and I just take turns paying for lunch," I say confused.
"Oopsies," says Heather, "I guess I jumped to conclusions after seeing your outfit choices."
My face flushes red I clench my fists. "So... my lunch money," I ask impatiently, "Um... sorry K, I forgot to bring you some money today." Tears swell up in my eyes and I slide into the seat in front of them.
"Sorry," I hear Bridget say to Heather.
"No," says Heather, "I should be sorry. No one deserves a horrible of a friend as that Kelly girl."
Tears stream down my face and my body shakes ever so slightly. I miss the old Bri.
The second the bus pulls up to my house I'm out of my seat and running into the house. I throw my backpack on the kitchen floor and grab an apple before running out to the pasture. Slim trots over to the fence.
"Hey gorgeous," I whisper to Slim as I slip his bridle over his head and give him the apple. Then I climb the fence and land lightly on Slim's back. Then I give him a small kick and he takes off at a smooth canter.
We reach the other side of the fence. I see two riders approaching Slim and me.
"OMG! Heather, you are so funny!" Squeals a voice.
"You are supes sweet Bridget," squeals the other girl. My stomach does a flip and I grit my teeth.
"Oh Kelly!" Says Heather when she notices me, "Why are you riding bareback?"
"Yeah," says Bridget, "Is it too expensive for you to ride with a saddle?" Both girls cackle. I look forward and pray I won't erupt.
"And your horse!" smirks Heather, "At least I can afford something worth riding." That's it.
"SHUT UP HEATHER!" I scream. "You can insult me all you want but NEVER, insult MY horse."
"Calm down you big baby," says Bridget, "You are being SO immature."
Then my blazing gaze snaps towards Bridget, "And you," I say to Bridget, "Stop acting like you are superior to me cuz you're NOT!"
With that, I kiss to Slim and he takes off leaving Heather and Bridget in the dust.
Tears dribble down my face as Slim gallops through the open field. Out of the corner of my eye I see a horse and rider galloping towards me.
"Wait!" Calls a voice.
I pull Slim down to a walk and the other horse breaks to a walk next to us. I look up to see a girl with long straight brown hair and brown eyes.
"Hi," says the girl, "I saw you crying, are you alright?"
I nod and wipe the tears from my face. "I’m fine," I whisper.
The girl, still looking concerned, starts walking away. Her brown draft horse lumbers along. "What’s your name?" I blurt out.
The girl turns around and smiles. "Erica," she says, "What’s your name?"
"I'm Kelly," I answer, "This is my horse Slim."
Erica's smile widens, "This is my horse Royal," she says happily.
"He’s gorgeous," I coo. "Thanks.
Slim is super cute!" Replies Erica.
"Thanks, you’re Slim's new favorite person."
Erica giggles and then her face grows serious.
"Tell me why you were crying," she pleads with me.
I bite my lip and say, "My ex-BFF and her new BFF have been making my life miserable all day."
Erica pats my arm and then her eyes widen and she suddenly jerks her hand away.
"What is it?" I ask.
"Is your ex-BFF named Bridget?"
My face drains of color, "How’d you know?" I ask. Erica sighs and says, "Because Heather is my sister."
"Woah!" I cry, "You really connected some dots."
She nodded and said, "Heather brought over new friend Bridget yesterday, and Bridget was complaining about a girl named Kelly." I nod and there is silence for a moment.
"So Heather is your sister?" I ask finally.
"Yup," says Erica, "Heather is my fraternal twin. I call her Heather-Bad-Weather. I know. It’s stupid."
I laugh. "It really isn’t," I reassure Erica.
Then I ask, "Hey, wanna come over?"
Erica says, "I’d love to."
*One Week Later*
"Quiet down girls!" Whispers my mom.
"Sorry!" Erica and I whisper in unison. We giggle and go back to our conversation.
"Okay," I say, "We really need to practice jumping, Slim’s muscle tone is not good." Erica nods and we continue to talk about our lovely horses before heading out to ride.
Slim eagerly waits by the gate for me as Erica and I go to catch our horses. "Hey sweet boy!" I say to him. I give him a kiss and slip the royal blue halter over his head.
We lead both horses into the barn and clip them onto the crossties. I take a rubber curry comb and loosen the dirt on his strawberry roan and white patched coat. Then I take a hard brush and brush the dirt away all together.
After about 10 more minutes I’m on Slim’s back. I adjust my stirrups and tighten by girth. Then, we head out to the field to start jumping. Our warm-up was getting to the jumps that Erica and I had set up for us to use (and Bridget and Heather - we had to share).
When we get out there know one is there. So Erica and I start jumping. I take the crossrail we had made from large branches. Three, two, one, up! I think to myself as Slim approaches and soars over the jump.
"Good boy!" I tell him as I pat his neck.
"Oh no," I hear Erica say. I turn and see Bridget and Heather riding towards us.
"Hi," says Heather in a sweet-as-pie voice, "I didn’t know they let horrible riders like you guys even near a horse!" Bridget and Heather cackle and I see Erica roll her eyes.
"Anyways," says Bridget, "King and Fiona are twinning!" She motions to the horses matching periwinkle saddle pads and polo wraps.
"Lovely," I say in a monotone voice. I have Slim trot around the jumps while Bridget and her bay thoroughbred mare, Fiona, approach the largest jump and Fiona clears it easily.
"And that’s how you jump!" says Heather in a smug voice. Then Heather steers King, her palomino Hanoverian gelding towards the jump. They soar over the jump. "Bye losers!" cries Heather as she and Bridget ride off.
*The Next Day*
Beep! Beep! Beep! I open my eyes and brush the hair out of my face as I look at the alarm clock. The clock reads 6:00 am. Time to get up.
I pull myself out of bed and quickly throw on some clothes. I then race down the stairs and into the kitchen. I run out into the yard and I see Slim waiting impatiently for his breakfast.
"I'm coming boy," I tell him as I bring his bucket of grain. He chows down and I smile. I then do a few barn chores and finally come inside for breakfast.
I sit down and eat some scrambled eggs and toast. I then drink some OJ and head out to the bus stop. When the bus pulls to a stop I climb on. I when I go to my usual seat, Erica isn’t there.
"She’s sick," says Heather matter-of-factly when she notices my distress. I grumble and lean back into my seat as the bus pulls to a stop in front of another house. A girl with wavy auburn hair and big blue eyes walks onto the bus. She scans the bus and when she sees me she smiles and sits down next to me.
"Hi," she says brightly, "I’m Annabelle. Who are you?"
"I’m Kelly. Are you new?"
Annabelle smiles, "Yeah, we just moved in this weekend."
I keep talking to Annabelle for the entire ride. I tell her about Heather and Bridget. She listens attentively and is very nice. I think we are going to be good friends.
When I get home from school I can’t find Slim. I open up my phone and call Erica.
"Erica!" I cry into the phone, "I can’t find Slim!"
"I’m coming," she says and then she hangs up. In 10 minutes Erica and Royal are over at my house.
"Hop on!" Yells Erica as I climb onto Royals back. We head out in search for my horse.
"I don’t see him anywhere!" I cry after thirty minutes.
"Wait!" says Erica, "Look over there!" I turn and see two riders. One of them is on Slim! Heather is riding King and I expect to see Bridget on Slim, but it isn’t her. It’s... Annabelle.Continued in Comments section