You have one man, with volcanic rage, simmering below the surface of his skin. You have one woman who is iron clad and formidable, prepared to protect the family at all cost. Each has their own story, steeped in alcohol, violence and money. Smiles would turn to grimaces – smile, frown – smile, frown – it was a dodge ball game. You would eventually get slammed.
Then take the kid. Twelve years old, eager to please; anxious to get every detail correct.
The man had given orders, “Go saddle up my horse”.
I remember the kid, leading the buckskin. It had the luxurious, turquoise saddle on it’s back. That was a favorite color, of the woman. The horses were her idea. He didn’t have an ounce of equestrian in him. To him, it was a show; a display of wealth.
I stood amongst the azaleas, empty headed and pacific. Moss hung in the oaks. We children were playing; cousins, bound together by blood, and proximity.
Then a storm hit. The man in his, “out of context” attire was ballistic. He wore blue jeans, black boots, plaid shirt and a black, cowboy hat.
The man took off his coach whip, black, leather belt. And began to beat the boy, with a fury. There were screams and crying. The boy could not get away. The “cowboy” was letting go of all his pent up energy. His self hate. His life’s disappointments. His insanity.
I was glued to the azaleas. I was hurt.
The pundit fair, moved from driveway, to the center of the road.
The man loosened and halted; he told the boy to run. The he would scream for him to stop and come back, where he beat him again. The man strutted his savage display, slowly forward, then he would call the skinny boy back to him. Repeat cycle.
As they moved and I stood still ~ some formula for relativity, I’m sure, they faded from sight, then ear shot.
My mind screamed help, but I knew better than to make a sound.
Another silent scar.
No one helped the boy.
Later, I was told his crime had been, he brought the wrong horse.
That’s how you create a character – or two – or more.
*written November 2017