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I was driving home along the Palisades, it was almost dusk and on the horizon the sun was setting with glorious colors dipping into the sea. I wanted to catch those last beautiful moments before the sun disappeared into the ocean, so I left my car at the entrance to the pier, sat down on the grassy bluff and watched the fiery sky. The last of the day’s visitors were leaving, the music from the carousel had stopped and the doors to the area were closed. The park was quiet in the twilight hours and I was mesmerised by the flaming colors of sunset before me. Dusk is short in California and it quickly became dark. I felt at peace as I relaxed.
Suddenly, one of the doors of the carousel flew open and a woman on a prancing horse came out, the pair trotted down the length of the pier. I was stunned, couldn’t believe what I was seeing. I jumped up and watched them turn and come closer, the horse with flying mane and the woman’s hair blowing in the wind. She rode as if this were the most natural thing in the world, then suddenly they both flew off the side of the pier, she in perfect control and the horse gradually descending to the beach.
Impulsively I ran to the steps and raced down to where they had landed. The horse was just a gaily painted carousel horse, inanimate, but the woman was all energy, with outstretched arms reaching to the sky, and she was singing a mournful tune, both laughing and crying. She turned and saw me and said, “Why are you here?” “I’ve come to be your friend,” I answered. She looked disorientated so I suggested, “Let us jog along the beach together.” As we ran alongside the foaming surf she cried in distress and pleaded for help. We returned and lay down on the sand. I took her hand and said, “Talk to me. Tell me about it.” With tears falling she told me how she had been jilted by her lover and only wanted to return to the sea where they had spent so many hours together, sailing and swimming during their happy days. Her only indecision was how to end her pain. “Should I swim out into the ocean?” she asked. She caressed the wooden horse as we lay next to it and kept looking at the bag which was tied to its saddle. I wondered what was in it. Could it contain a bad solution to her life?
After a while we were both exhuasted, she from telling and I from listening. I was silent because I thought she needed to do the talking and hopefully ease her stress.
I felt a tap on my shoulder. A voice said, “Are you alright ma’am?” I sat up dazed, I was still sitting alone on a grassy bluff by the pier.
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