Lucy was pregnant. This surprised her since she could not recall any events that would lead to such a thing, but she took it in stride. Her life changed very little except she slept, shit and ate more. The farm lay quiet around her as her belly grew. She woke daily to her unborn daughter swiftly kicking her already bruised ribcage and found she was not inclined to love her thus far. What did she know of children? She was content being alone, with the mountains keeping watch and the forgiving earth listening to her quiet thoughts.
She dreamt nightly of desert sands, a wind she could not escape and wild horses just out of her reach. On the day her daughter was born, Lucy awoke from this same dream, her bed drenched from her body's sudden, urgent need to bring her daughter into the world. Lucy squatted in the claw foot tub, bore down and screamed. No one heard her, her family long dead and her home too deep in the woods for anyone to come running.
She was surprised when the thing that slid from her body was, in fact, a foal. Lucy did not remember ever sleeping with a horse but felt assuredly that this was her kin. A mother knows. She did what her father taught her whenever an animal on the farm gave birth: she wiped the mucus off her daughter's mouth and gently set her on the bathroom floor so she could clean the vernix that covered her soft coat. She encouraged the foal to try to stand and after a few false starts, her daughter was walking. Perhaps this is a gift, Lucy thought, as she had lived for so long, so very alone.
Lucy began to check her, examined her hooves and legs, her ears and eyes. She sat, legs crossed, and gently slid her fingers into her daughter's mouth to count her teeth. She could hear a strange noise coming from the foal's mouth, Holding the foal's trembling lips, Lucy peered inside and saw the universe, a swirling mass of stars, streaks of blue and gold and infinite space that sung in a language she thought she knew.
Lucy considered what was in front of her, her daughter and the cosmos. She thought of what lay outside this room. The mountains called for her and the earth murmured with longing but the foal's song took hold in Lucy's body. Ah, she thought, so this is what love is, and climbed inside her daughter's mouth.
Rose Andersen is currently pursuing an MFA at CalArts, where her thesis will be completed just as soon as she finishes that next cup of coffee. She writes to the dulcimer snores of her Boston Terrier Charlotte, and completes her stories despite the endless barrage of puns from her partner Josh. She enjoys writing memoir and strange fiction.