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The Blue Pony

Gifted. Zara sees more than she can speak. Feels what others can’t. She is slow when speed is needed. Or quick when it’s not. No sync. She gazed at the vast sky.

“Maybe its a place for me? Where my slow and quick make sense.”

She climbed up a tree. Higher. Higher. And still higher. The clouds pulled her inside. They praised her gifts.

“What are they? I don’t know.”

The clouds replied, “You will.”
The teacher said, “All kids will paint a picture. A noble masterpiece.”

She raised her hands high in the air. Up and still up. Zara’s eyes followed the teacher’s fingers up. Past the ceiling to the clouds. Zara imagined painting a gorgeous pony with her as its rider. Other kids drew stick figures living in square boxes. Yawn. Her painting would hang at the highest spot on the classroom’s wall. The other artwork would make the teachers and parents smile.

“How nice.”

They would say in their polite teacher and parent voices. But then their eyebrows would arch at Zara’s painting, and they would sing her praise like a choir.

 “What a beautiful portrait of a pony with such a lovely girl rider.”

“So amazing.”

“A noble masterpiece.”

Mother surely would hug her extra tight. And still tighter. Then hang it on the family’s dining room wall beside father’s war medals.

Zara decided to paint her pony blue, like the sky, with a white mane, for the clouds. She wanted his eyes yellow, but she dipped the brush in black paint instead. Dark spots stared at her. Fail! Make it right. Clean the brush. She painted another blue pony. Clean the brush. She painted her figure in orange sitting on top of the pony it. Sitting proud. But the brush slipped. It mingled with wet green paint. The colors turned into mud.

Fail again!

Fix it.

Zara mixed more green to the dark spot. She added more orange to her figure, then more green. The lines grew fatter. The paper sagged. Make it right. Other children cleaned up. Zara asked for more paper.

The teacher said, “Sorry, I haven’t got time.”

Defeat whispered to her, “You failed, again.”

Everyone looked at her.

Fear tightened her throat.

No words.

Paint dripped from the sagging paper. A mud puddle on the floor. But Zara refused to believe defeat’s words. She grabbed the wet brushes and painted on the wall. A large blue pony with a white mane and yellow eyes appeared.

The teacher yelled, “Stop.”

Zara still refused. Other kids laughed. She smeared orange paint over her clothes. She whistled. The pony turned its head to look at her. He jumped off the wall. The teacher and other kids gasped. Zara climbed onto its back. They trotted out of the school.

Zara clung to its white mane. The pony trotted quicker. Then slower. Yet it was her quick and slow.

Now it made sense.


The pony jumped into the air. A huge wind lifted them. Higher. Into the vast sky. The clouds pulled them up inside. They cheered. Proud of her.


Her confidence exploded.

“I painted a noble masterpiece.”

The clouds replied, “First of many.”

The blue pony stayed in the clouds. It would come to her. If she needed it, again. Mother washed the orange paint off her clothes. Zara put the piece of paper on the wall next to father’s war medals.

Her parents said, “It’s blank.”

But Zara shook her head no.

“It’s a painting of me riding a blue pony.”

Val Valdez - Enthusiastic Lifelong Learner and Writer