The Little Horse

By Isabella Briggs

“Trotta trotta cavallino.” 

Three words I still think about. They do not have any particular importance. They do not mean anything special. 

When I first heard these words, I was young. My grandmother sat in an old rocking chair, holding me on her lap. I cannot quite remember the couch’s pattern or who sat there, but that is of little importance. 

I focused intently on my grandmother’s words. I could tell they were not English, but that did not matter. 

An infant does not require the meaning of words, only the entertainment they provide. I sat there in pure bliss, giggling along as Ninna chanted the phrase, moving her knees up and down to the rhythm. 

“Trotta trotta cavallino. Galoppa, galoppa, galoppa, galoppa.” 

Ninna’s voice sounded natural this way. Her heavy Italian accent for these words. She pronounced them correctly, unlike when she spoke to me in English. 

My young mind did not know why she sounded different. I did not know Italian was her first language. I did not know she grew up in Italy during a war. I did not know she never completed her schooling in America and therefore never mastered the English language. 

All that mattered as I sat there happily was her voice as she repeated those words, just to make me smile. Because that was all I needed. 

I would learn the rest later. 

Sunset Seasons

Raenna L. Matthews

           My little siblings and I stampeded up the white-carpeted stairs to the dining room, books in hand. The morning sun shone brightly, and the warm ocean air blew in through the double doorway of the balcony. My older sister, Alyssa, reached out to tickle my little brother, Micah, as we reached the top of the stairs. He dodged behind me, and I toppled to the floor, laughing uncontrollably as the tickle monster attacked me. Alyssa stopped tickling and we raced through the kitchen door to the pantry. I started to climb the shelves to get to the Strawberry Special K (Papa kept it on the second highest shelf because otherwise it was gone in a matter of hours). Uncle Scott reached up and grabbed the box for me, and I skipped to the table to pour myself a bowl. Once I had my bowl of Strawberry Special K and a glass of orange juice, I delicately skittered to the ladder in the hallway. I balanced the plastic bowl that held my cereal on top of my orange juice and stuffed my paperback copy of “The Fellowship of the Ring” into my sweatshirt pocket. Holding my breakfast in one hand, I used the other to balance as I climbed into the watchtower. I set my breakfast and book on the bench attached to the wall, then took a few minutes to admire the three-hundred-sixty degree view the all-around window in the tower provided. I glanced down at the vacation complex the lighthouse building was in, but I gazed long on the ocean horizon, with the wet sand trailing into dry, scorching, bright sand as it progressed toward the pavement. I stared at the glory of the morning sun reflected off the ocean waters. The blue became progressively darker as the water grew deeper. The waves broke in beautiful bubbles of white and showers of salt-water on the sand and on themselves.

           I turned from this alluring view to my breakfast and book. I lay on the floor with my book in front of me, my cereal next to me, and my orange juice still on the bench. Munching on the sugary flakes and tart dried strawberries, I was absorbed into the story.

           After hours that felt like seconds, the room had grown markedly darker. I stood to take in the evening view and check if my siblings were outside. As I gazed down I saw long shadows cast by my sisters and brothers throwing a disc around on the beach. They laughed with glee and fun each time someone threw too far or didn’t quite jump high enough. The light hair of my sisters and older brother shimmered in the twilight, and I could imagine the twinkle in my little brother’s eyes and his serious expression as he concentrated to catch the disc again. They ran about on the still-warm, but no longer scorching sand for several minutes, before my sisters pranced down towards the soft wet sand and salty ocean waves. They splashed in the shallows as the tide rose. Then Alyssa pointed out to sea.

           Following her finger, I watched as dolphins danced and played in the waves a ways from the beach. The sunset glistened peach, vermilion, and rose on the shining water as the wondrous, curious creatures chattered and flipped in the ocean.

           As the evening became twilight, my siblings were called inside for the night; and as the twilight became night, the dolphins retreated to their ocean home. The stars were made visible and the crescent moon grew bright as the sunlight faded behind the earth.