On the day we rode the horses, the sky was an overcast gray, threatening rain. Our two past days of eighty degree temps had cooled down to sixty. It was our third day of a week’s vacation at the California Beach Resort. We had filled the first two days with moped riding, a hot air balloon tour, and a five hour boat cruise, all underneath sunny blue skies. We feasted on the buffet breakfasts of pancakes, omelets, and varieties of pastries and fruit, and washed it all down with fruit juices and flavored coffees. We were on a vacation high and wanted to see and do everything.
By day three I had gained ten pounds and wasn’t motivated to do much but lay by the indoor pool, read, sleep, and drink alcohol. But Sharon insisted we go horse-back riding that morning, even with the threat of rain. We got up at seven A.M., showered, and had breakfast. I reluctantly agreed to go riding, and we made our way to the ranch in the back of a tour van, even though we were the only passengers. Dan, our driver, looked like he was half asleep when we met him at the van pick up, but the ranch was only twenty minutes away from the resort so we figured it was safe enough.
“Really going riding…in this?” He looked up through his windshield.
“Yes. Really. ” Sharon said, annoyed.
“O.k.” He shook his head, shrugged his shoulders and started the van. We got in, moved to the back and settled in. The ride was quiet with Sharon burying her head in my shoulder and leaning against me. She quickly fell asleep and gently snored as I looked out the window and watched a few raindrops slide down the glass pane. What was I doing? I didn’t want to ride, I wanted the pool…drinks…alcohol…a warm Jacuzzi. I didn’t want rain or muddy horse trails to slip on and break my neck. “Great,” I said out loud.
“Mmm. Yes, it will be.” Sharon said half-asleep. She didn’t open her eyes. She cuddled closer to me and went back to snoring.
We got to the ranch, which looked closed. Dan pulled up in front of the entrance and we got out.
“I’ll be back in a few hours. Enjoy your ride,” he said, trying not to smile too much. He pulled away, and we heard him laughing.
“Tool.” Sharon said.
We walked up to the door, I knocked and we waited. A man in his late sixties-early seventies slowly opened the door. He was dressed in blue overalls, a striped red wool shirt, cowboy hat, and brown leather boots. He extended a warm hand and welcomed us in. His grip was strong and his smile genuine.
“Name’s Ned…what can I do you for?”
“We’d like to go for a short horseback ride,” I said.
“Hmm. You saw that sky, right?” He said, shaking his head.
“Yes,” I said, feeling deflated. “You’re right…we shouldn’t go. Let’s go, Sharon. This was a bad idea.”
Before she could say a word, Ned said, “Now…now, wait a second. If the lady wants to ride, you should ride. I just need you to sign a waiver of rights, not holding the ranch responsible if anything bad happens to you. You ride at your own risk.”
“O.k., we’ll sign,” Sharon quickly said. She grabbed the papers and Ned handed her a pen.
She scribbled her signature and handed the papers and pen to me.
“You sure?” I asked. She just looked at me with those wide blue eyes. I signed.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Joseph Trance.
Published on e-Stories.org on 08/09/2014.
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