The well-worn path darted in and out of the deciduous trees and I let Windy trot when it was straight and smooth. His step was light and quick as we rounded the bend to the river. Something inside me crawled at the invasive presence of noise; the silence had been so beautiful. The rippling of the water could be heard, but not seen, although that wasn't the noise I was talking about. I slowed Windy and we cautiously came out from behind a tree. My eyes were wide open with curiosity. Just who would be out here? But I was totally shocked when I saw the source of the noise.
I froze up, perfectly still, my mind racing with thoughts and potential choice of actions. Should I go over there? Should I turn around and forget about it? Should I announce myself? By the time I had finally made a decision, it was too late- I was noticed. Sparkling azure eyes met my purple ones. Quickly, my eyes darted away, but just as quickly they returned; I peeked out from the corner of my eye, trying to read his reaction. A little voice inside of me screamed, warning me to get out of there as soon as possible. Windy, feeling my nervousness, danced underneath me. My attention returned to him and I placed my hand comfortingly on his neck and tried to calm myself down, although at that point in time it was quite futile. Forcing myself to not look back, I gently kicked Windy and pulled the right rein to my hip, turning him back the way we came. My skin crawled and I was nearly hyperventilating as we fled the scene. I could almost still feel his eyes on my back.
We had almost made it back into the safety of the trees when a word crossed over from him to me and pierced me like an arrow. "Hey." It was said flatly, if not accusingly. My heart leapt and I turned my torso around slightly. Everything within me cried out to flee, to just escape this agony. Completely opposite of what I really wanted to do, I straightened my shoulders and glared. What do you want!? He stayed steady under my fierce gaze. The silence, so comfortable before, now felt tight and threatening. Couldn't he see that I had no interest in conversing with others?
"Can I ask what you're doing here?" A simple question, obviously nothing was meant by it, just something to break the silence. I glanced into his eyes, probing for sincerity. Did he really care? "You can," I replied. Surely I must have come across as incredibly haughty. Inwardly I flinched at my tone. Once again the silence wrapped around us, covering our mouths and nearly smothering us. "Okay," He tried again, "What are you doing here?" I looked down at my hands and blinked a bit as I saw just how much they were shaking. I took a deep breath before replying, trying to keep my voice steady. "Riding." There. One word. That should be enough, right? Can I leave yet? Well, whatever, I'm going. I turned back around and kicked Windy into a canter. He was happy to oblige and we bolted out of there like we were escaping a crime scene. I heard his voice call out behind me. "Hey!" It was very accusing this time, although it was also tinged with curiosity. I didn't even look back once. Good riddance.