No One Left Out

When I’m driving on the west edge of St. Thomas, I come upon a meadow that borders Kettle Creek.  For many years, four horses have graced that field, and they like hanging out close to each other.  There’s a tall black fellow, a mid-sized black one, a medium one with dark brown patches on white, and a honey-coloured Shetland pony.  I look forward to seeing them every morning I’m on the road.

Once in awhile there are only three horses enjoying each other’s company. And that hurts me.  I get scared.  Has the fourth one died?  Maybe they’re sick inside the barn.  Maybe their owner has taken them to some wide open pasture, and my friend is getting to run and frolic.  Whatever’s happened, the fourth one always returns in a couple of days.  And I breathe easy again.

It’s just not right when one of the group is missing.  The circle is not complete, and I feel sad.

It seems that this is a recurring theme in my life.  I remember how much it hurt one time in my teenage years when I was hanging out with two friends, Mary and Brian. We were sitting at a round table.  I’d say things to Mary, but mostly she’d direct her comments to Brian.  It was such a vivid experience of being third wheel, and that sorrow has never entirely left me.  So my heart breaks when I see others live through exclusion or absence.

I’m thinking now of a Grade 6 girl.  Bonnie was enthralled with a certain boy band, especially its lead singer.  Many a time when she spoke to the class, she would work in a comment about her heroes.  The rest of the students quickly tired of her obsession … and she was ostracized, subtly at times, blatantly at others.  And I was sad.  Once again our circle was broken.

And then there was the gentleman in the meditation hall, a very large guy who brought with him a rubber cushion, which he placed on his chair.  Any slight movement and we heard the squeak.  Also he moved fast, stepped heavily and plunked his glasses down loudly on the window sill next to him.  The looks from some other retreatants held a clear message – you’re not welcome here.  More sadness.

The theme continues inside me.  Jody and I have been watching lots of episodes from “Star Trek: The Next Generation” on our laptop, her from the hospital bed, me from a chair.  I’d missed the last three or four, and when I started watching again I noticed that the young ensign Wesley Crusher was nowhere to be seen.  He wasn’t on the bridge.  He wasn’t in Ten Forward, the ship’s lounge.  He wasn’t even in the credits.  And the same reaction from me: I miss him and I’m worried about him.  All for a TV character from 1990.

I smile at myself sometimes.  Hopelessly sentimental?  Overly sensitive?  Naw … just me.



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