My husband would have his breakfast before sunrise, and after I had prepared his meal, I would steal through the soft ground fog of dawn to the stables with an apple hidden in my palm. The mare would nicker softly the moment she heard me enter the stable. While she devoured the apple, its sweet juice running out the bottom of her mouth, I would stare into the deep pools of her huge, lustrous eyes. I would see my reflection in their glassy surface and tell her everything. She would gaze deep into my soul and unhinge my heart. I would rest my forehead against hers and breathe of her rich animal scent and hear the thunder of imperial hooves in a prehistoric desert valley.

I wondered whether the mare felt the same appreciation for me as I felt for her. I wondered what she thought of me. Was I beautiful? Did I fascinate my lover? Was I worthy of his devotion? And I wondered if, in all her noble bearing, she sometimes doubted herself, as I doubted myself.

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