The girl is 32 now and is married to her college sweetheart. The facility she worked so hard to build is finally making some profit, hardly. She put all of her money into renovations. She does not regret it. She has a steady income through her equine facility, with a marketing career on the side. Her husband’s whiskey label is taking off with her help and the help of his sponsors. She works after hours to promote his brand and help his dream prosper.
Their three-year-old son is taking an interest in horses. He comes to the barn with her late afternoons once the sitter, a student that works off lessons with baby-sitting, goes home for the day. He places his small hands on the muzzle of her favorite horse, Flip, and giggles as Flip blows his breath on the little hands.
“Flip Flip likes when I poke his nose. He thinks it’s funny”
“Did Flip Flip tell you that?” She asked him.
“Yes, you just can’t hear him ‘cause he only talks to me. I am his favorite.”
Flip is greying around the eyes and muzzle. His once dark brown and glossy coat is speckled with flecks of white hair all throughout. His velvet nose is just as soft as the day he arrived in the states from Holland. His kind eyes are still full of wisdom, though they don’t see as well as they once did. He will be little Jamie’s horse when he is ready.
The facility is none other than Penrose. After Teenie realized her days were running few, she put Penrose on the market with the hopes that someone would love it the way she did. So her father invested in the future of Penrose. The large land trust was important to the community, and home to many. Teenie wanted to see Penrose restored to its former glory, and was able to rest easy knowing it would remain in the Penrose family.
The gravel drive has been replaced with tar, though it still overlooks the paddock that was once inhabited by Rosie and Athena. They have long passed, though their memory still remains on the paddock gate. Silver plates, hammered into wood, names etched simply.
It still has that familiar smell though it is filled with new faces and new horses. She still finds comfort here. The main barn still remains, though it holds a new layer of paint. The once chipped white and green paint has been stripped and most of the wood replaced. The new paint is white and the trim is green, as Penrose should be. The death trap that was the Little House has been torn down and replaced with an apartment actually fit for living. It is two bedrooms with a small kitchen and living area that attaches to the barn tack room.
Her assistant trainer, Kaylen, lives there with her now fiancé that helps manage the farm. Kaylen was an original Penrose girl. She shares the same love and holds the same fond memories of Penrose growing up. People like Kaylen are the bones of Penrose. Both the old and new.
The fat barn cat is now replaced by an even fatter hound dog. He lays sprawled across the aisle of the barn.
“Step over me if you must, but please do not step on me, as I do not intend to move.” He must say.
Although the renovations are nearly complete, she still sees the Penrose she loved as a young girl.
It is still familiar, though no longer old fashioned. She has taken one of her favorite locations on the farm and build a small house. Her husband did most of the foundation himself, though her brother assisted in building the wrap around porch. Her sister and her two kids assisted in painting it the yellow she had always dreamed of, and the shutters and door white. Where she once rode her horse to relax is now where she builds her family.
She is thinking how differently she would have done things but that at least she is with the ones she loves. She is imagining a life without her misfortunes and where she might be without them. Better off? Worse? Would she still call Penrose her home or would she have taken that job in Colorado? Somehow, she always knew she would end up back at her home in Tennessee. Not her home off of Bent River Blvd, but her other home off of Nubbins Ridge: Penrose. She is thinking about how lucky she is to have made it through what she did and not feel the need to share it with the world in order to feel “strong”. She does not need to prove herself to anyone or prove how hard she had it, though others only saw the financial support her father provided.
“You know people like us actually have to work. We weren’t born with a silver spoon in our mouths.”
He didn’t know how very wrong that was. She was thinking of mailing a silver spoon to all those who questioned how hard she worked and telling them where to shove it.
What happened in the past is reflected in the person that she is today, and sharing her life at detail won’t change her self-worth or how proud of herself she is. Instead, she feels strong through her work. Through getting up every-day and looking at what she has built.
The letter she wrote to Teenie is still dear to her heart. She has created what she promised Teenie she would: a home for young riders to grow and to appreciate what they are given and what they have to work for. She can only hope to receive a similar letter someday.