A Stranger Intrudes


One Friday in the backyard labyrinth where I’d sneak off to smoke my father’s pipe and hide from school, a girl I’d never seen peeked through a door—I hadn't seen that either— beckoned, retreated down the aisles of green, and led me to a white horse streaked by weather: an equine statue, marble, riderless. She mounted to the bare back from the plinth and stared straight at me. You are coming up, or—? Blankly I nodded, followed, let her hold my hand as our legs dangled, let her press her lips’ soft print to mine….Her face was bold, height modest, style no-frills but elegant. I knew I’d found my type. ……………………………….Then off she went— hopped down and left me wandering toward supper.

A visitor, the child of dignitaries (our threshold in those days was graced by many): mother a crystallographer, father a diplomat. They visited more often after that. The grownups in the parlor, sipping sherries, gossiped about electrons or the Bourse or my poor grades, as I slipped off with “Genny” into a hedge or cupola to play. A new nook every time. Needless to say, we never found our way back to that horse.