“You have no GO energy.”
A sentence that echoed. It etched itself into my presence. Having a lack of energy was not an association you’d think of first if you met me. That buzz of nervous energy became my trademark ever since I could not shake it off as a child. Annoying to some, endearing to others, perhaps. A teacher at school once took me aside: I may be burning the candle on both ends, she said. Too much, too fast. Except for today.
Frankly, I sat on that saddle like a wet sack filled with mud. I think I did move my arms. And I tried to do something with my legs. The horse moved its head, but not much else. I still think he gave me the side-eye. So we stood there for a while. With no GO energy. I did not see any point in moving. Because I did not even know where to go. I came here to relax.
Twenty-twenty had unraveled like wax. Slowly deforming its bodywork and adopting whatever shape with which it could ease itself into its surroundings; no direction, no purpose. Whatever, man. Just too many sentences had wormed themselves into my inner dialogue over the past months. Too many darn sentences that gradually turned into an amorphous monologue of the same things, over and over again. I was as bored by myself as I was of everything and everyone else. Nothing personal, but everyone slowly started to sound the same. The same mind-numbing slogans. The same idle ideas with lost meanings outside their formalized repetition on social media. The world of the virus had opened the doors to a form of global interaction fueled by a hollowed-out reflection of ourselves. Relatable. This. Repeat after me.
My mind hovered. It was repeatedly thrown back at itself, but it had no presence.
My blank stare must have confirmed Wayne’s suspicion. I wasn’t paying any attention. Was I even there? “He won’t go anywhere if you don’t focus.” Wayne pointed at the horse. You’ll probably laugh when I reveal its name: Dash. Dash was dashingly handsome, just not dashing off.
I felt stumped, unceremoniously thrown back at me in the now. Horses sense when you don’t pay attention. Or when you don’t mean “Go!”. They won’t do diddly squat, and why should they. You’re sitting on their back while they could do something else after all. Besides, if they think they cannot trust you to do the thinking, they get stressed. You got me all saddled and out — now what? Only to have something unpredictable on the back, something that does a lot of communicative signaling without much meaning.
After that day, I crashed. I spent the entire weekend sleeping. Wayne’s sentence, that whole day still echoing. I went back. The horse was a bit antsy. You and me both, I thought. But I remember that I stopped being fuzzy in that moment. Horses really don’t care that much about all your reasoning, and detours of reasoning, and those mirror-recognition tasks you hope to set for yourself. And, honestly, neither do many fellow humans. Too much noise that does not carry voice. I looked at the post on the other side of the fence. Let’s just go there.
And off we went. Straight to the post. I turned my head around. Now to that other post. So we went there. A loud sound of nostril blowing ensured. That’s the sign that your horse is relaxed. Dust swirled. Another deep snottering sound. Wherever we’re going, she’ll get me there.
This time, the signal meant something. It did not have to be the final purpose of our exercise. Or the most exciting roadmap. It just had to mean something, for now.