Wednesday, January 19, 2011

a fragment of something . . .

The Diplomat's Son

. . . how did he get here?

There was a day they all rode in the desert, his mother, his father, and his sisters. Sometimes now, when he has had too much to drink, he recalls the day, and he lies on the floor and squeezes his hands closed and pulls up his knees and he’s there, in the desert on a small white Andalusian his mother gave him on his 12th birthday . . . “Fernand, the pony made a very long journey on a boat for you, aren’t you thankful?”

“yes, Mother, he is a lovely pony . . .” He didn’t want his mother to know how much he already loved the pony, she had far more power over him than he liked, his father had told him, “Fernand, you must please your mother, but don’t indulge her or you will never be a man.” And so he attempted to be indifferent to the pony, but he was so infatuated with the little horse, and the idea that he had made a sea crossing that he could hardly conceal it from his mother, “And what would you like to call him Fernand? He is waiting for a name?” Fernand touched the pony’s muzzle and his breath was sweet like figs, “Fig . . . I would like to name him Fig mother.”

“Fig it is then Fernand.”

and so a few days later, there he was riding his pony Fig, and his sisters were on their little Berber horses that had been gifts from an ambassador. His mother rode her arab Paris in western tack she collected on a trip to America . . . the little black Arab was overwhelmed by his silver and carved leather from Texas, but he was an obliging little horse, willing to wear ill-fitting saddles from India, Mongolian bridles , and Argentinian rawhide, all for the Diplomat’s wife, who had a strange affliction when it came to saddlery. Fernand’s father sat quietly on his old akhal teke -- a horse found by a camel trader in the desert, he brought the horse into the city, and because of his extraordinary color, he decided he was divine and must be presented to the Diplomat as a gift. Fernand’s father called the horse Wanderer, he took the trader’s word for it, and declared the horse divine . . .

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