Horseshoe


horseshoe
Is the midst of the aughts, I don’t remember the season, I live close to the city limits of Kolozsvár, in Kerekdomb, an area with old, modest family houses that looks more like a village than a part of a city. I had to get up really early, at 4 a.m. We are leaving on a one week Transylvanian tour and I hate this early departures. We most probably have a show at 9 a.m, 250 km far from Kolozsvár, in the middle of nowhere where a few dozens of children will be impatiently waiting for us in a cold, so-called cultural center that looks more like a stable.

I have to cross half the city to get to the meeting point. I decide to walk because, miraculously, I woke up fresh and I already managed to pack my rucksack lightly the night before. It is still very dark outside, middle of the night kind of dark. It is probably Autumn.

At 4:30 I’m in the street, completely awake and considering it would probably be wiser to take the first cab I find. But street lighting is encouraging to my night walk yet protective with the sleeping houses, fences and trees. There is no one in sight and not a single car passes me by.

I managed to remember these details later, much later, but from what was about to happen I have never forgotten any.

I exit my little street and turn right on a larger one. After about 50 meters I turn left on another street that in 60-70 meters becomes a viaduct above the city’s railway station. I can see the viaduct in a mild electric light and after a couple of steps later I freeze. On the deck of the bridge a horse appears, trotting towards me. Actually there are two, three-fou’-five, six…No, seven horses are trotting down!

They’re getting closer and closer, their glittering eyes completely ignoring the flash and bone statue of the rucksacked pedestrian me. Six of them are dark-colored, the seventh horse is white, a bit behind and has a loose horseshoe that sparkles every time it hits the asphalt but the animal keeps his gait as cool as the other six.

The rhythmic clinking-clanking sound of all the good horseshoes together with the broken one’s that’s off-key, washes my brain, empties my chest. Now they are passing me by and I can vaguely smell their skin, their breath. I can vaguely hear the air brushing their big bodies. Now they left me behind, I look back at their croups and the little spark of the loose horseshoe is burning my eyes.

They exit right, whence I came in.

From the moment I saw them till the moment the street went silent again I completely forgot my life, I probably forgot my name and my aim too. I was a thing, an it, able only to record the event and totally unable to process it. When they disappeared around that corner forever, a longing, I have never felt before nor since, hit me with such a force that it had at least seven horsepower.

As I walked up the viaduct I was thinking common things like “these are tears of joy!”, “unbelievable!”, “oh, my God!” but mostly “waaaahhhh!”. Then I saw the proof: steaming horse manure scattered on the other side of the bridge. I heard my self laughing very loudly and I took several deep breaths.

From that point on I forgot everything about the rest of my journey to the meeting point, I forgot the entire week that followed and I even forgot which show we were touring with. The next thing that I remember is that the first time I talked about those horses was when I arrived back home.

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