By Amy Jin
I held his hand and led him to the mounting block where he would be assisted onto the horse. His sparkling ocean blue eyes wandered around the arena until they settled on me.
“Hey, what’s your name?”
He responded, “My name’s Z.”
I was previously told that he disliked the instructor speaking too much. Z also had a disorder that caused him to overreact to every action that caught his attention, which made him very sensitive. I tucked all his problems away to ensure that my treatment of him would be the same as the other children.
Another volunteer led a medium sized horse with distinct black and white spots—that could be mistaken for a cow if the distance was right—to the mounting block where Z and I eagerly awaited. Z elegantly swung his leg over the back of the horse like an expert and settled in his saddle. I became his side-walker, the person who walks along the horse next to the saddle to ensure the rider’s safety.
I made some small talk with Z at the beginning of class until his creative six-year-old mind activated. He talked about his blueprint for a time machine that he was going to build.
Contemplating his vast imagination, my childhood ideas of inventions flashed in my thoughts and I also began contributing to his time machine plans. By the end of class, we had the machine all planned out. To power the time machine, we would utilize the light reflected from a diamond; a ruby was placed on a time line made of gold to determine the destination; lastly, a secret phrase was said to activate the machine.
We talked during class when the teacher was not giving instruction, but intentions clashed when the instructor tried to correct Z’s hold on the reigns. “Z, hold the reigns tighter, so you do not have to pull back so hard to stop,” the instructor lightly pulled back on the reigns, so Z’s hands would minimize the slack.
That small motion caused Z to scream, “You hurt my hand.” He began screaming and crying, until the teacher apologized explaining that she was only trying to demonstrate and had no intention of hurting his hand.
As the class continued and the slack on the reigns increased, I softly mentioned he could hold the blue section of the reigns to lose some of the slack. (The reigns used there are color-coded.) He eagerly agreed, sliding his hands up the reigns, pleasing the instructor. I gave him an acknowledging smile, silently thanking his cooperation.
The class ended and the mentally exhausted instructor approached me, praising how well I worked with Z. I shrugged it off, “We are just so alike.” Then, I accompanied Z to put away his helmet. When his mom arrived Z sauntered to the entrance, while I waved goodbye.
Childhood is a phase that is left behind as we develop and grow. I thought I had departed this phase after my elementary graduation. But because my common sense mostly stems from past mistakes, my childhood will have to be revisited.
Being in the presence of a child brought back familiar memories. It gave the child inside of me a sample of creativity that I had not received in years. I believe my inner child will follow me throughout my life and that it is found in all humans, but the inner child may be more concealed. I left the barn with a new appreciation for the determination that powers children.