Margarita stands with two straps of her winter blanket dragging in muddy puddles that formed themselves overnight. Rain is a rare visitor to the typically scorched Topanga landscape, yet it started strong last night, and carried on into today’s late, foggy morning. The donkey is staring at me with her giant eyes full of expectations laden by mischief. They say “do something”. They say “an extraordinary now”. For me the “now” is beyond an average kind of extraordinary. Where I stand today is about as likely of an occurrence as Margarita chomping out carrot origami with her slightly crooked teeth. Looking back on it I am tempted to gift her an origami book, and see what happens.
Inside every man there are boxes full of memories. They dictate the way we go on living; adding and subtracting from them as we eat cereal, wash our hands, or climb aboard boats that may never dock at the long awaited pier. Every decision starts with “for better” but what about the pieces that get misplaced in the present, and push the covetable “better” further down the list of attainable outcomes… Margarita kicks when flies bite her legs. They keep biting, and the blisters swell up in the summer heat. Someone must clean the wound, and do so promptly, sweetly, incorporating all other adjectives that ensure both parties are able to walk away afterward. My head is by her hoofs anxiously lingering in the air one swift donkey kick away from its final destination. I hum “Leather and Lace” while my hands drip iodine onto the ground. Margarita stands listening to my tune while her legs twitch and fidget. I may never be able to adequately word the exact weight of necessity this has on my life but if the alarm goes off tomorrow my head will still be dangling in the air, dusty hair, and hands full of iodine.
Years ago, before my black Subaru crossed the LA county line, my understanding of life came to an end so dead crickets wouldn’t chirp there. Thirteen schools, three different continents, one heartbreak, a thousand cups of coffee, and all I had to show for it was aJournalism degree I hadn’t made a dime off. I hadn’t come to LA to dream, I stumbled onto the city hoping there would be padding on the ground. There wasn’t. They say LA is a strange bride. It either kicks you out with nothing to your name or leaves you in the center of its being; spinning and pulling you along its strange stream of traffic and swaying palm trees. I swayed with the leaves and found a fly ridden donkey. It’s no mansion in the hills but there’s a real purpose for my hands here. Margarita looks at me with a softness only a grateful beast can muster. I sip black coffee in the tack room hidden in the Santa Monica mountains before running alongside horses unencumbered by anything other than a mutual love for the sand clouds escaping from under us. This is the soul of it, and my Patronus against the LA chaos below.