Amazing Kids! Magazine

Bonito

By Raquel Villanueva, 10th grade, California

 

“Wake up! Come on, Clary, wake up!”

Those were the first words I heard as I returned to consciousness. As I opened my eyes, I saw a very handsome man—and I had no clue who he was.

When I sat up, he pulled me into a long embrace. I couldn’t take it; I pulled away.

“Who are you?” I asked, full of concern, because for all I knew, he could’ve been a serial killer.

The stranger had a pained expression on his face when I asked him this. “You don’t recognize me?” he asked.

“No,” I said, confused. “Am I supposed to know who you are?”

“Clary, you’re my fiancé. You were in a really bad accident!”

That’s when I remembered what happened before I’d been pulled into the darkness.


“Look, Bonito!” I said to my horse. And what a beautiful horse he was! Bonito was shiny black except for two white legs and a mane of white and gray. I talked to Bonito whenever we were together, and he was basically my best friend.

I told Bonito to look at the sky, which was so clear and blue that day. I was riding him back to the ranch when I noticed a loud truck moving way past the speed limit. Bonito tended to be scared by loud noises, and the fact that the truck was making so much noise at that speed set Bonito off. I was having trouble controlling him because he was so spooked. All of a sudden, the truck hit us, and there was darkness.


“Bonito!” I screamed now at the stranger.

“Clary, calm down. You need to calm down so I can tell you what happened to him.” I was silent, but continued to shake. He went on. “Clary……Bonito is not doing so well. He has a broken leg and a concussion. The veterinarian, Mr. Gonzalez, doesn’t think he will make it. He suggests that we put him down.”

As soon as the words left his mouth, I started to break down in hysterical sobs. Anyone outside of the room would assume that I was being tortured from how I was reacting. In a sense, I was being tortured—because I loved Bonito more than anything. I felt arms wrap around me, but I pushed them away, because I still had no memory of this stranger.

“Take me to see Bonito,” I begged. “Please!” I had no memory of this man, and no desire for his comfort, but I was desperate to see my Bonito.

“Let me check if it’s all right with the doctors for you to leave.” Then he walked out of the room.

After he left, I slipped into the bathroom and quickly changed into some clothes that had been left nearby on a chair. I assumed they were mine, but I couldn’t recognize them. When I finished dressing and exited the bathroom, I noticed that the stranger had come back, but not alone.

“Hello, Clary,” said his new companion. “I’m Mr. Ramirez and I am your doctor today. So Ty tells me that you don’t recognize him. Is that true?”

I already didn’t like this doctor, but I was civil. “I have no idea who this man is. May I leave now? I need to go see my Bonito!”

To be fair, I shouldn’t have yelled at him toward the end, but I was desperate to see Bonito and these people wouldn’t let me leave.

“Well I advise that you stay in the hospital overnight, considering you do not recognize some things,” Dr. Ramirez said smugly.

“No, I need to leave now! Let’s go!” I shouted this while pulling the stranger, whose name was apparently Ty. We ran—I led him to the exit of the hospital, coming to a sudden stop in the parking lot. He bumped into me, and I noticed that I was still holding his hand, so I snatched my hand away. Hurt was visible in his eyes, and I looked away.

“So which one is your car?” I asked. He headed in one direction, and I followed him.

We drove, and after a while I recognized the ranch. As soon as we pulled up, I jumped out of the car and ran to Bonito’s stall. I wondered to myself how I’d forgotten everything except for my beautiful Bonito.

I knew that Bonito was the most important thing in my life, but as the vet came to greet me I realized that I didn’t even recognize this so-called Mr. Gonzalez.

“Hello Clary,” Mr. Gonzalez said, too cheerfully for my taste. “It’s nice to see you again.”

“Sorry, but I neither recognize you nor do I care who you are at the moment,” I snapped. “All I care about is Bonito!” I was literally about to go crazy if any more people stopped me from seeing my horse.

That’s when I saw him, his front right leg all taped up. It broke my heart to see him like that, because there seemed to be a good chance that he might never be able to do anything more than walk, and that was no way for a horse to live.

“Clary, I have spectacular news,” said Mr. Gonzalez. “It turns out that Bonito only has bruising. He was very lucky not to have broken anything. He should be good as new in, I’d say, about a week or two.”

It was the best news I had ever heard in my life. I wouldn’t have known what to do if my Bonito passed away. He was all I had left of my parents, besides the ranch. I remembered that much.

“Clary, let’s go inside.” Again this strange man was talking to me, and I decided to confront him once and for all.

“Who are you? Why is it that I cannot recognize you or anyone else, but I remember everything else perfectly?”


Two weeks passed, and I gradually began to remember things about different people, but still, for the life of me, I could not remember the man who called himself my fiancé.

I’d been too scared to ride another horse since the accident, and I didn’t think I’d ever want to again, because I was secretly terrified that I could cost a horse their life or mine. I’d lost all my confidence, and it was starting to show. Many people asked me when I would be returning to the circuit, but I simply told them I had no clue—I really wasn’t sure if I’d ever ride again. They called me the rodeo princess, and they all told me to come back as soon as possible.

As I walked to Bonito’s stall one afternoon, I thought to myself, Who am I? Bonito was going crazy from being held up in his stall all day, but I was too scared to let him out and train him—I barely had the courage to go into the stalls and feed all the horses daily.

Another week passed by, and still I hadn’t made any progress. I was sitting on the couch when it all happened.

“What is the matter with you?!!” Ty yelled as he came into the house, spotting me on the couch.

“Um, excuse me?” I replied, alarmed and angered by his tone.

“Forget about me. It’s fine, because I know that one day you’ll remember me again. But it’s been three weeks, and you still refuse to go riding. This isn’t you. The Clary that I knew could barely stand one day without riding, and she tried to spend as much time with the horses as possible, especially with Bonito! He’s been cooped up in his stall for too long! I know you are terrified of riding again but you must overcome this fear, because you never smile anymore and you’re always sad. I know that if you face your fear, you’ll be much happier!”

Ty extended his hand to me, and this time, I actually grabbed it and let him lead me to the barn. I saw that Bonito was all saddled up and ready to go. I hesitated, but I had a feeling that Ty wouldn’t let me go back into the house until I rode on the horse.

I put my left foot in the stirrup and swung my right leg over. I started to panic, reliving the accident all over again. I was about to get off when I saw Ty looking at Bonito. That’s when I realized that I had to overcome this irrational fear, because it was affecting not only me, but all my horses as well, especially Bonito.

I grabbed ahold of the reins, and the next thing I knew, I was galloping off. Ty was right—I’d missed this. I couldn’t believe how scared I’d been to ride again, when this was my life.

I came across a familiar pond, and I started to remember all the great memories I had there and the more I thought about them, the more I was able to recover. I raced against the wind to get back to the ranch, finding him standing in front of the barn, just where he’d been an hour ago when I left him there. “I remember!” I desperately yelled at him, and he seemed to understand.

“I’m guessing you saw the pond?” Ty practically sang, a huge smile on his face.

A month later we stood across each other in the front of the pond, the same spot where he’d asked me to marry him, and where I’d remembered him after the accident. Ty knew that Bonito was the best thing in my life, but also that he came a close second.

So, later, as we rode into the sunset, I reminded myself how grateful I was to have Ty. If he had given up on me, then I wouldn’t be married or doing what I loved most in the world: riding.

We decided to stop at the river by the back of the ranch for lunch. It was peaceful, quiet.

“Ty?” I whispered.

“Yes, Clary?”

“Thank you for not giving up on me.” Then I turned to Bonito and kissed his head.