THE CRYSTAL DAISY and THE MINI HORSES in THE PRAIRIE
From some months in the house in front of Clara’s, which had remained uninhabited for years, after a terrible crime that had been committed there ____a child of three years had been killed by his mother, who smashed the child head with a pan _____Julie, an elegant and good-looking forty year woman had come to live with her daughter Angie, a little girl of nine years. Angie was very pretty, and she was also lame. She and Peter, Clara ‘s son, a little boy of eight years, had become friends. Even Clara and Julie, since after all not a day went by that they did not happened to see each other, had taken to meeting willingly. It could be said that they too had become friends. Since Clara, after the divorce, had moved to the countryside, she definitely preferred the company of animals to that of people. A lot of animals lived together her and her child Peter: cats, dogs, sheep, hens ,geese, rabbits.
Of course , also for Angie the animals which populated the courtyard, the garden, the house of Clara and Peter, they were very welcome ( presences) – Julie, instead, happened that sometimes she wrinkled her nose when a dog licked her hand, or a cat gave her a light bite on the legs .Not that she (Julie) had ever complained about the presence of all those animals, but it was evident that she preferred houses where great order and impeccable cleanliness reigned ( order and cleanliness that was impossible to have with the company of so many animals). Among the animals which lived together Clara and Peter there was also a pony, called Freddy. Both Peter and Angie were crazy about Freddy, which was small but really sturdy. The little pony looked armored with that full-bot body. He ran like a mad sprinter, kicked like a devil, did wonderful somersaults. And, yes, he ( the pony) let Peter and Angie ride him and took them on amazing rides, so much amazing that they felt like they were performing in a circus. …Oh, yet they had to expect at any moment to be thrown to the ground….eh, yeah, since Freddy was unpredictable and also mischievous.
One day Clare and Julie were talking and , from time to time they watched Peter and Angie roam the garden with Freddy. Julie, looking at the pony, had said that she too loved very much horses. “ You could keep a horse” Clara had said. “ Yes, sometimes I think about ….to have a horse…but, you see, indeed my real passion is ( are) very small horses “ Julie said, with a dreaming look. “Then get a pony” It was natural to say to Clara. “ Ah, I mean horses much smaller than ponies….I bet that horses as small as the ones I think you could never see them ….and, after all, not many people had happened to see them” Julie had kept talking, more and more enthusiastic about these tiny little horses which she had happened to see. Since that day ( since then) Julie had often come back to talk to Clara about the tiny little horses that she would have liked to be able to see again….But, unfortunately, it was not easy for her to be able to see them again….
Every time Julie came back to talk about them, those tiny little horses which she had seen and that had to exist , since they had so much impressed her ( Julie), they, the tiny little horses became more and more a mystery to her ( Clara). When Clara asked her but why she didn’t take these extraordinary very little horses with her, Julie told her that, oh, this was impossible because the very little horses needed a very special environment, as well as special care, since they had been obtained ( they had been the result of) through genetic experiments that had retraced the evolution of the species. Ah, but why couldn’t she ( Julie) even see them? Because they were kept in very protected places, which had to be inaccessible to anyone who did not take care of them.
“ Yet you told you saw them! Where were the tiny little horses when you saw them?” Clara asked. “ Of course I saw them…and I also have photos ( pictures) of them. Yeah, I must show my photos of them to you. When I was so much lucky to be able to see them, these tiny little horses ran across a prairie “ Julie whispered dreamily, as if she had still in front of her those extraordinary animals. ( horses). “ In a prairie…and where was ( is) this prairie?” Clara asked.
“First time I saw them, they were running in a Texas prairie” Julie answered, nodding at her words. “ What? The first time you saw them? But…you said that it is very difficult even to see them. Then, why you could see them more than once? “ Clara barely was able to ask, more and more disoriented. “ Ah, my dear, I could see them more than once __indeed I saw them several times ___because I’m a very lucky woman!” Julie said, laughing. “ Sorry, I meant that I was able to see these truly extraordinary tiny little horses more than once____I saw them even in Andalucia…even in Arizona ____because ( since) …I knew the right people” Julie ( had) said in a suddenly sad tone ( voice), with an expression ( air) on her face, her head bent over a shoulder, her hands in her lap, with the fingers of a hand holding the fingers of the other, as if it were no longer possible for her to have recourse ( to resort) to those RIGHT, that is, influential people who had made it possible for her to see, with her own eyes, and close, the wonderful mini horses running across the prairies of Texas, Arizona, Andalucia …. Clara, she would have liked very much to ask her ( Julie) why she could no longer have recourse to those….Right people, but she held back her curiosity.
Even before Julie showed her the photos ( pictures) of those magnificent creatures , which were the miniature horses, Clara began to feel a feeling of sorrow, which was also a physical pain, something that resembled a stomach murmur……every time she thought about those incredible creatures, the tiny little horses, which Julie had been so lucky to be able to see them, and also to touch them, also to hold them in her arms. Even though she (Julie) couldn’t see them at moment, but she had seen them by close, and she had brushed them, and had fed them, ah, she had seen them running across prairies… There were wonderful photos ( pictures) of Julie together with the mini horses stretching their muzzle on her face ( on Julie’s face), perching on her shoulders (straggling her shoulders), and photos with the very little horses eating sugar cubes and chocolates that Julie held in the palm of her hand, and then photos of Julie brushing the mini horses, which, with their muzzle up ( in the air) were waving their manes….It was something wonderful, amazing, that Julie had had and which she, Clara could never have. Often, when she found herself gnawing her liver, thinking that she would never be able to see close, by her own eyes, that wonder , the tiny little horses running on a wide prairie, that instead she, Julie, had had the good lucky, indeed the privilege, not only to see but even to brush, and even to take in her arms, perhaps also to console herself, but, above all, to try to appease the anger she felt mounting inside her, Clara said herself : “ Sure, Julie had had that shameless luck , that enviable privilege….to be able to see, to touch the extraordinary mini horses, but for her part ( on the other part) she, Clara had been lucky to have a son like Peter, healthy and strong, and without any imperfections . While Angie, Julie’s daughter, she was not only lame, but she also had difficulty in coordinating the movements of the arms and the hands. Yes, she was spastic. When Julie talked about her daughter, she never mentioned the deficiencies , or the handicaps of the little girl. But Clara thought that certainly Julie preferred ( would have preferred) to have a perfect fine child in all respects, like Peter was. Julie likely envied her since her son had no handicap.
To tell the truth there was really something Clara had and Julie whished she had , but it was not at all her son Peter, who(m) Julie found rude and crude. Clara would never have imagined what Julie craved so much of what was hers. It was a not at all precious ornament that Clara almost always wore. It was a daisy entirely of crystal, with the petals of crystal, and the head of crystal too. It was not even an original handcraft object. It had probably been mass-produced, even if it had not been on sale for time. In short, it was an object of costume jewelry that had gone out of fashion. Now, since that daisy was made of crystal, it was completely transparent , so that it became a casket, a kind of kaleidoscope for the light (it reflected), which at moment filled its petals and its head with dancing colors, or, rather, with flakes (splinters) of dancing colors which, moving continuously, they changed combinations, always giving rise to new tiny images, that were truly jewels. So, now the dancing colors into the crystal daisy could appear as a miniature rainbow or, rather, as a piece of rainbow to wear hanging on the chest. Then those dancing colors suddenly disappeared, and together them the enchanting miniature images, which , dancing, had created disappeared, so that the crystal daisy now seemed completely empty. But whoever had happened to catch with his gaze that dance of colors which gave life to tiny images of which the one followed the other continuously, without pause, which the one turned suddenly into another, ( that one) remained with the desire, indeed the urgency, to see them reappear . Also for Clara it had been like this when she had received the crystal daisy as a gift from an aunt of her mother, who had lived a long time in Argentina. Then, as time passed, she had become accustomed to the wonders the light was able to create into the crystal daisy and ( so that) the emotion she felt in seeing them had diminished, without, however, disappear. Julie had remained completely enchanted by her crystal daisy. She had kept asking and asking again about it. How long did she own the wonderful daisy? Where did she buy it? Ah, it was the gift of one of her great-aunts… but listen, who had lived in Argentina…Then it came from far away, her daisy. She had never seen one like it. When Clara had said her that it was now impossible to find item like hers on the market (for sale), she had been very sorry, but had tried to hide her displeasure. “Oh, then you can say that your daisy is an antique” she had exclaimed. “ An antique? It is even a relic!” Clare had replied, laughing. She would never have thought that Julie wanted that crystal daisy so much….Julie, on the other part, kept thinking about it. Perhaps she could ask Clara to sell the crystal daisy to her….She ( Julie) would have gladly paid much more than its value to have it. But Julie didn’t dare to ask Clara to sell it . It must be said that if Julie had been able to tell her neighbor how much she longed for a daisy like hers, how much she needed to own it because of what it aroused in her, because how it made her feel, likely Clara would have given it to her( as a gift). But then she should have told Clara about the magic, the spell that object, the crystal daisy, caused on her, yes, she should have told ( she should tell) Clara about ( of) the relief she felt looking at that myriad of colors chasing each other in its transparent petals under the light ( struck by light). And speaking of that object, the crystal daisy, telling that she felt it would be the very lucky charm she needed, likely Clara would ask her why she needed a lucky charm that would give her relief, why she needed relief. Pressed by Clara’s questions, by her curiosity, Julie would end up ( would have ended up) talking about the hard weight that weighed on her heart. It was precisely this that Julie could not allow. The burden on Julie’s heart and life was Angie. Although she was considered by everyone, and therefore also by Clara, a good mother , who had accepted her daughter ( child) as she was, with her imperfections or handicaps, in reality her feelings towards her daughter were very different from what people thought they were. For Julie having a lame, spastic child was a real torment. It was a sentence she had never accepted. When Angie was born, and she was born premature, Julie had hoped her child couldn’t survive. Instead Angie had survived, she had grown up, and before long she had been a teenager. Julie seemed to have her daughter’s physical imperfections more and more evident as Angie grew up. For her part Angie felt that her mother was unhappy to have a daughter like her, she did not fell accepted by Julie, and she had developed a rebellious and grumpy nature ( character).
Clare often thought of the magnificent mini horses which Julie had been so much lucky to be able to see them , to groom them too, and she willingly came back to talk about them with Julie.
“ No, Angie was too young when I could see them. I couldn’t take her with me” Julie had said when she ( Clara) asked her if her child had seen those fabulous mini horses too. “ Oh, too bad” Clara ( had) said. “ I think they would have been an unforgettable experience for a child.” Julie had remained silent, so Clara had come to say: “ Well, let’s hope Angie can see them. You know, Peter too would like very much to be able to see them. Do you know where they ( the tiny little horses) are now?” she had asked. “ No, I have no idea “ Julie had answered, thoughtful. And, after a few moments , she had added: “ As far as I know they may not even be there anymore( they may even no longer exist)” How strange those words of ( from) Julie sounded to her. They seemed like words blown by the wind, opening to boundless spaces, where there was no longer any certainty. “ But how? What are you saying? Why should they be no more?” She asked. “ Oh, nothing…it came to me to say so” Julie murmured, keeping her eyes on the ground.
That night Clare dreamed of the mini horses that ran in an endless prairie. In that boundless space they looked like butterflies or even flies. And here, suddenly, Angie appeared in the midst of them. She too was running as if she wasn’t lame and spastic at all. But what was that object dangling on her chest as Angie kept running among the mini horses? It was something shiny, but Clara couldn’t understand what it was, since she saw only a part of it. Suddenly Angie, continuing to run, with a firm gesture of her hand, snatched that pendant from the necklace and threw it to the ground. It was a crystal daisy just like hers. “ What a strange dream” Clara said herself when she woke up. Yes, strange, but also beautiful. At least in a dream, she had been able to see the wonderful mini horses. And Angie running free, without any hindrance…Yeah, Angie had a crystal daisy just like hers. When she looked for her crystal daisy, she couldn’t find it. Ah, Clara couldn’t understand when, where she would have lost it. She saw Angie again, as the little girl had appeared to her in the dream she had just had, at the precise moment when she, with a decisive gesture, had detached the crystal daisy from the necklace and had thrown it to the ground.
That same day Clara learned that Angie had gone ( was gone). She had not come home from school. Julie was very worried. She said that her daughter ( child) had probably been kidnapped, perhaps by pedophiles, but it could also be by those who intended to ask for a ransom.
Days passed and, despite searches, Angie was not found. It seemed she had disappeared without a trace. All those who had seen her on leaving the school ____classmates, teachers, janitors ….____had said that they had even seen her walking down the street. There were also those who had seen ( met) her as she was walking her way home. Truly there was ( had been) also an old woman who had said she had seen Angie in front of her home, indeed entering home. But, since Angie had not come back home, the old woman was not believed. Angie’s body was found three months after her disappearance in a well not far from her house. It was said that Angie had fallen accidentally into the well. Also Clara’s crystal daisy was found at the bottom of the well.