The Gift Horse

Gift-HorseMy oracle, that wisest of the wise, otherwise known as Mom, always warned me in hushed tones to “Never look a gift horse in the mouth”. She never did elaborate, as if it was all self-evident and no further advice was required.

Heck yeah I’ll look it in the mouth; I work for a dentist! First words out of my mouth, after that initial “How do you do?” are usually “Open wide”. Just kind of goes with the territory, n’est pas?

But now, after 50+ years of her dire warning ringing in my ears, I can say with surety that I totally understand it all, two years after Cupid wheeling that Gift Horse right into my friend’s kitchen.

Although Gift Horse and I had been passing acquaintances through mutual friends for over ten years, I doubt we would have recognized one another on the street. Yet one holiday weekend, at our friends’ home, suddenly Cupid and his meddling band of cousins were circling that kitchen, pouring wine and clapping tiny little hands and shooting arrows. The Gift Horse was long divorced and I was up to my armpits in the midst of my own divorce from the Monster.

For almost two years I became the most spoiled, pampered woman on the planet. Armloads of flowers every week, love letters, emails, notes left in my purse and on my gas tank, signed “From the Last Man You’ll Ever Love”. My car was detailed every Sunday, inside and out. I couldn’t lift a finger to do housework. The Gift Horse was an amazingly skilled cook and I was never allowed to open any door in his presence. This man walks through life with the grace and confidence of a panther. He made everything he touched look effortless.

So why, you might reasonably ask, would any woman in her right mind begin to feel restless and in need of a sea change so vast it still takes my breathe away?

The move from the Carolina coast to a city hours away from a beach was probably not my finest idea, but it was an idea that had been hatched six months prior to Cupid shooting his arrows towards me. Moving near the Gift Horse was a fluke and a coincidence. After one year, though, the novelty of city life began to wear thin and I became antsy and unhappy. It began to dawn on me that a land-locked, inland life in a cold and grey climate was not the future I had envisioned for myself. The joy was ebbing out of my life.

Almost overnight I decided to revisit a 30-year-old dream of living in the tropics. In a nano-second, possessions were sold or packed and my paradise was found. Here I am, in a brand spanking new life. I have coffee every morning with the ibis, cranes, and flamingos, under the monkey pod tree, overlooking azure blue water. I am fit, tanned, and happier than I’ve been in many years.

For the first time in my life, at age 61, I put MY desires and dreams before a man or relationship. I realized that if I didn’t create my utopia now it would probably never happen.

I will also tell you that my Mama was dead wrong. You CAN look a Gift Horse in the mouth, and even kiss it, and nothing tragic will befall you. I realize my Gift Horse was a lovely distraction sent by a benevolent Universe. A soothing salve to ease me through the final chapter of the Monster. My Gift Horse was a lovely break from my Monster madness, an interlude filled with love and laughter. And I believe that love, once created, is never wasted. It doesn’t dissipate when a relationship ends. It may morph and shape shift, but it can never die. Love once created, always lives on somewhere.

I just pray that Cupid isn’t super pissed at me for foiling his best laid plans and doesn’t hold it against me in the future!

Feature image courtesy of

One thought on “The Gift Horse

  1. Well…….Sometimes when you do look that horse in the mouth. Looking very closely and thoroughly . You never see that when the perusal is complete, one ends up looking like the the opposite end of said gift.

    Then again. If you don’t perform “due diligence”. The result could be the same as well.

    Might as well screw the exam. Throw a saddle on it. Gallop into the sunset. And leave “Yippie ki aya” echoing in the dusk.

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