This I Believe

leanna - san antonio, Texas
Entered on October 30, 2007

I had only one best friend growing up, and his name was Beau. He stood at 15.4

hands and his black coat shined whenever the sun hit him. His real name was Doc For

Real but my family and I called him Beau for short. He was a registered quarter horse

with the AQHA. My dad used him for his roping competitions and my little sister used

him for her play day. He can be the gentlest of horses with the most inexperienced riders,

and then he will have the need for speed with people who know how to ride.

He was my barrel horse and I won some money off of him but he was also my best friend. I didn’t have a lot of friends at school so I would come home and talk to him about all my problems. Beau just stood there and looked at me like he was telling me that everything is going to be okay.

May 23, 2005 was a warm summer day and the air was thick with the smell of rain. My parents were at the hospital visiting my grandpa and they had Lexus, my youngest sister, with them. Lisa, the oldest, was at her boyfriend’s house and Larissa was at a friend’s house. So basically it was just me home all by myself. There was a noise at the barn so I went outside on the porch to go and check it out. Crack! The thunder grew louder. Outside it was only drizzling, but the rain was getting harder with each passing minute. A black figure came out of the barn heading for the front gate. At the front gate we have cattle guards put down to keep the cattle from going out but horses are a different story.

“Beau!” I called out at the top of my lungs. Fear paralyzed my body and I couldn’t move. Then it happened. Beau did not see the cattle guards so he made no effort to jump over. There was a crunching noise and both of his front legs got caught in between the cattle guards. His scream was so loud I’m sure the Gods in heaven heard it. It was a high pitched, painful scream that made me want to kill myself. That’s when I finally snapped and ran out to the front gate. At first he tried to fight out of the cattle guards and that made the pain worse and the screaming louder. Then he gave up and finally settled. I stood there dazed, hating myself for not doing anything more. He looked at me with his soft eyes telling me that he knew.

I fell to the ground and started bawling, burying my face into his thick neck.

“Ill be back Beau. I promise. Please don’t move.” I sprinted all the way to the house and called the hospital. My grandpa answered. “Grandpa where’s my mom and dad!” I almost yelled into the phone.

“They just left. What’s wrong?” he asked panicky and I told him the whole story. I was mad when he said nothing at first. “Leanna on the very top of my closet is my Winchester and the bullets are right next to it.” What the heck is he thinking?! I thought.

“Grandpa I can’t,” I choked the words out of my mouth.

“Leanna you have to. There’s nothing you can do to help him. Go now.” Right after he said that I hung up the phone and ran to his room. The gun was right where he said it was and so were the bullets. I hurried back outside into the now pouring-down-cats-and-dogs rain all the way to the front gate. Beau’s breathing was slow and steady. His dark gentle brown eyes looked sleepy and started to get cloudy. I looked at the bullets in my right hand and the gun in the left. Beau’s eyes were closed and I thought he was already dead but he wasn’t. Bawling and praying I loaded the Winchester slowly. When it was loaded I took the safety off and looked at my friend one more time. I bent down and rubbed his black forehead behind his left ear where he liked it. He opened his eyes and looked at me right in my eyes. It hurt the way he looked at me that I cried even more. I stood and backed up a few steps and took aim at his forehead. I looked away and the thunder sounded. I fell to the ground with the punch back of the powerful Winchester. All my energy was gone and I laid not wanting to get up. I was soaking wet ant my eyes hurt from crying. Only the rain was the noise I heard. No fidgeting from Beau or his breathing nothing but the rain. Finally I looked up and crawled to Beau. His eyes were open so respecting him I closed them and cuddled next to him crying and praying.

My mom and my dad found me on the ground with Beau, soaking wet with blood on my shirt, and carried me into the house. I wanted to stay with Beau but I was too drained to fight. I wasn’t the same after that. Every time I saw a horse I thought of Beau and it hurt just thinking about it. When grandpa got home from the hospital he said nothing and I was glad, unlike my parents who kept telling me its all going to be okay, but really it wasn’t.

A few months after Beau’s death my dad and I were driving down a farm road when we saw a horse, strangely, on the side of the road.

“What the-?” My dad said. The grey horse looked as if it had not eaten in weeks. I stared at the horse, examining it. Feeling sorry for the poor thing, I rubbed its nose then gradually made my way up. When I got to behind the left ear it started to flip its upper lip up and down, just like Beau used to do it. I heard a laugh and found out that the laugh was coming from me, surprisingly. We took the gelding home and after a few months he grew fatter and fatter. Cowboy was a whole new horse in three months. He’s not fully recovered so my youngest sister Lexus rides him.

Beau will always be in my heart, and it hurts my guts when the memory comes back. I promised myself that he will be the last horse I ever shoot.