Telwen’s Extraneous Tales: Fail Better
Bright wagons were arranged in a semi-circle behind the largest wagon, the side of which had folded down to form a sort of stage, with deep red curtains half drawn across an exquisitely painted backdrop. It was midday now though and there was no audience to fill the benches lined in neat rows before it. Brightly dressed people floated in and out of the wagons, some were juggling, some singing and still others stood in small groups acting out scenes of a play. Beneath a purple wagon in the back sat a little red-haired girl huddled against a large yellow wheel. Her arms were wrapped tightly about her skinny legs and her face was buried in her knees. Someone approached with light step, their shiny boots pausing next to the wheel.
“Telly?” A blonde head appeared and winked at her between the spokes, “now why is my sweetpea under there?”
The girl stuck her head out and peered up at the tall man dressed almost garishly in a scarlet jacket with gold buttons over a gold silk waistcoat and cobalt blue pants that were neatly tucked into soft leather boots.
Sniffing, the girl rubbed a hand along her eyes, “Oh Daddy, it was awful.”
Without a thought to dirtying up his clothes the man dropped gracefully to the ground on the other side of the wheel. “Well sweetpea,” he said, his cornflower eyes smiling warmly, “tell me about it.”
Crawling closer she rested her head on the yellow spoke and threaded her arm through to play with the braiding along his jacket. “Brayden was practising his tricks on horseback. I really wanted to learn some. He said he’d teach me how to stand up while the horse is moving.”
Her father leaned over and brushed a lingering tear from her cheek. “That sounds like fun, so why the tears?”
“I was awful! Comet took one step and I fell off, didn’t even wobble just fell right off!” she wailed and bit her lip as more tears welled in her eyes.
“Well what happened the second time?”
Telwen’s steel blue eyes stared at him incredulously. “I told you, I was awful! I wasn’t gonna get up there again.”
Her father started laughing, “Silly peanut, come out here.” Reluctantly Tel crawled out from under the wagon and glumly let him pull her onto his lap. “You are a very talented little girl, but even you can’t expect to do everything perfectly all the time, especially the first time you try something. Some things just take practice.”
She tucked her chin to her chest and listened to his deep baritone rumble through his chest. “But I failed terribly.”
“And you will, there’s no helping that.” He hooked a finger beneath her chin and tugged it up so her eyes met his. “You try and you fail, but the next time you fail better. You keep failing better until you succeed. But no matter what you never give up Telly.” He smiled at her, his blue eyes crinkling. “Now, is there something you want to do?”
A corner of her mouth lifted, “Yeah.”
Drawing in an unsteady breath, Tel placed her hands along the hard leather of the saddle. Closing her eyes, she breathed in the comforting scent of horse and leather. Sliding her foot into the stirrup she swung herself into the wide vaulting saddle. Brayden stood at Comet’s head, holding the reins in his hands. Giving him a nod, Tel tucked her legs underneath her and waited to feel the shift as Comet began to walk. When she felt she had the swaying rhythm down she began to slowly uncurl her body until she stood straight on Comet’s back. Throwing her arms out to her sides for balance, she wobbled precariously, a bright grin plastered across her face. After the horse had gone only a few paces her foot slipped out from beneath her and with a startled cry, Tel tumbled to the ground. Her father watched her carefully, noting the frown that creased her face as she picked herself up and brushed off her clothes.
“Are you all right sweetpea?”
“Just fine Da,” she replied and reached for the saddle again.