Continued from “The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face”
The next few times I ventured to the barn I sat with Gramps. By the second visit I decided I could not stand his name. Rescue organizations often make up names on the spot, never intending them to be kept, especially if they do not know the animals’ name. I suspect he was called “gramps” because he was an old horse.
“What do you want me to call you?” Gramps responded as he usually did when I talked to him by studying my face trying to understand. A lot of horses will look you in the eye and hold your gaze, and it is a wonderful feeling of connection when they do. But Gramps did more than that, he studied my facial expressions in a way similar to how people study each other’s faces searching for meaning and hidden emotions. He was trying to read me; that much was clear.
I had given some thought to the name thing the previous night.
“How about Bob Marley?” I half joked. For whatever reason when I Google searched “horse names” that one came up a surprising number of times.
Gramps was not interested and pulled his head back into his stall to sniff for possible pieces of missed hay.
“Blaze?” After a horse in a book I loved as a child.
I rambled a list of several more possible names.
Finally, I offered, “Charlie?”
With this suggestion, the horse responded. He put his head up and looked at me, spitting out a mouthful of bedding that apparently did not have any hay bits left.
“Charlie?” I asked a second time. I liked it; my mom would sometimes say I looked like a lonesome Charlie when I was blue. He did look lonely.
He nickered softly, before returning to his treasure hunt for lost pieces of hay.
I took that as a yes, and began calling him Charlie from that moment on.