I didn’t have clear ideas, I hadn’t learned to be scared of the future, I couldn’t understand why my parents let me have some stuff but not other stuff: it’s not like I asked for much, only I didn’t figure in what they did, money: I knew stuff cost it, but I didn’t automatically think, like they did, We have no money for a horse, we have no space for a horse. We had a tiny house, I knew that, Dad had a tiny job, but he always got his hands on money, it was there when he needed it: if he needed money for a horse, what was the problem? The horse could sleep in my room, standing or lying down, it didn’t matter, I’d move my stuff. He’d eat oats, stores sell oats, and if we couldn’t get oats right away we’d let him out, he’d eat grass, he’d plump up, canter in: horses are docile, I figured there’d be no problem of him running out of the yard, clacking down the street, horses aren’t cats or dogs, they don’t hunt, just graze, so what was the issue? I’d brush him, it’s a fair trade to brush someone in return for love: he’d be like my brother: I’d even take a run-down horse who’d be dogfood otherwise: that’s what I told them, but I only wanted a horse one or two, my age in horse years, a horse who really could’ve been my brother, not some dried-up uncle like the cheapo horse I mentioned to get them talking. I figured if they thought about it they’d say, If we’re committing to a horse, we better get a young horse, not one who’s liable to drop dead over his Legos in a year: there’s plenty of young horses out there, they’re born all the time, same as humans, and they’re less of a commitment: after all, we committed to two human kids, plus an adult when we got married: when you do the math, it’s not a huge stretch, and the gift’s so big, it’s like two gifts: maybe he won’t care when Christmas rolls around if it’s nothing, or horse feed: or maybe let’s think of it this way, there’s three months between his birthday and Christmas: for his birthday we print a picture of a horse, just to show him what’s coming, a nice young horse getting ready, per our agreement with a stable, to move in on Christmas. But my brain knew parents have two voices: there’s always one to tell the other, Honey, he’s a kid: if he sees that horse, he’s gonna want that horse right away, he’s gonna say I want my horse! He’ll draw out that last word in an adenoidal whine like we’re being callous and unfair by promising but not instantly delivering an expensive present: he’ll make it impossible to concentrate, he’ll break our willpower, we’ll end up turning that horse over early, you know we will: then he’ll apply his ruthless kid logic to wringing a Christmas present out of us too, although he knows the deal: it’s not fair I only got a birthday present and not a Christmas present: I guarantee he’ll say it: the picture of a horse doesn’t count, it’s not a present, it’s a present announcement: nobody on earth would call it a present: on top of everything he’ll want something else: horse, horse picture, you won’t please him, can’t if you try.