She resolved not to cry. Not then. Not ever. No matter what he did. He could be mean as he wanted, smash everything into a million little pieces.
“Mustangs are not orange,” her sister said, wagged her finger at her. It was that blank time between Christmas and New Years and they were on their third straight day of ten below zero. The wind made it too cold to play outside. Avis and her five siblings were stuck inside, running around then gorging on left over ham and Russian teacakes.
“Besides it’s a thoroughbred,” she continued. “Can’t you tell the difference? It should be brown with white leggings.”
Her sister waved the box the model came in up in the air as if a whole classroom listened. Avis longed for a mustang so she painted her thoroughbred orange and called it a mustang.
“Neigggh” she said, trotted by her sister and then her father, neighed especially long and high, alternated between loud clicking sounds. A mistake maybe, neighing to her father. He was an imposing man, given to bouts of darkness.
She was deep into remembering the Rockies, and the ranch where they camped a summer not so long ago. The one with the boy who took her, and her brothers, and sister horseback riding into the mountains. She was imagining the meadows when her father grabbed the model horse out of her hands, and threw it toward the garbage can. The mustang landed hard, and broke at the neck.
“It’s not a god damn mustang,” he said.
Avis stood quiet until he left. Then picked the horse up and held it tender, neighed quietly, galloped round and round the house and over the hills and far away. She remembered climbing up the round wooden rails of the corral to get on her horse. Remembered the boy, barefoot and no saddle. The way he turned to them and smiled before he busted into a gallop, the way they flew through lupine meadow and pine forest, she and her brothers and sister. Remembered the way they grasped at whatever they could, tried their best just to stay in the saddle.
(from a writing challenge – had to include a mustang, a New Year resolution, comfort food, a mountain range, a seventies song, and hope) (was to be 300 words but its more than that )