Even Wild Horses
Jude discharges liquid through her mouth all morning. She suffers from the opposite of motion sickness—she can’t handle the stillness. I take her to the mountains to find the longest, the curviest road. A road that starts and stops without expectation. A road with vertigo views, dangerous cliffs, and carved tunnels that move from covered to sun to the underground and back. We drive for hours. She pleads for me to press the accelerator, hug the turns. Stop, she begs, without me knowing you will. And the faster I drive, the more reckless, the calmer she becomes. She sits straighter. Relaxes. Even asks for a hamburger.
We stop at a roadside dinner, but as soon as she sets foot on land to stand, she spews again. I pat her back. Even take her, take Jude in my arms and spin her around and around. Hold her in my arms and toss her a few times skyward. Let her climb over my back and swing from my arms. I blindfold her; push her to and fro between me and the hitchhiker we picked up at the top of the hill. He seems to like it, her soft body falling against his chest. Run around the building, while I get milkshakes, I tell her. My satchel contains vials of anti-inflammatory medication, ginger soda, and pressure point bracelets. I give them, all of them to her. But it’s no use. As soon as she stops moving her stomach turns over. A headache crowds her vision. She rests her temples in her palms, places her cheek to the parking lot. Callouses form under her eyes. She tries shaking. Jude crawls from the parking lot toward green pastures, where a fleet of wild horses run the meadow.
Tie me to the horses, she says. To that one there with the strong legs, with the kamikaze eyes, she says.
Tie you? I ask. With what?
Twine, she says. From your jacket.
I unravel the threads and strappings of my pea coat and chase down the horse for Jude. I wrangle it to the ground with a lasso I fashion from braids of clover, and I bind, I bind her to the back. She’s happy. Really. Look at her face. Watch the way she lifts the corners of her mouth into an expression I’ve never actually seen on anyone, much less Jude. Happy to be moving—finally, really moving. She’s found her home here in this pasture, on the back of this horse, galloping toward some great notion—some great distance far, far from me and my simple, my static home.
About The Writer
Genevieve Hudson is the author of the story collection Pretend We Live Here (Future Tense Books) and A Little in Love with Everyone (Fiction Advocate), a book on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home. Her writing has been published in Catapult, Hobart, Tin House online, Joyland, The Millions, Lit Hub, The Collagist, No Tokens, Bitch, and other places. Her work has been supported by the Fulbright Program and artist residencies at the Dickinson House, Caldera Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. She lives in Amsterdam.