After dinner, Ann knew it was time to face the music. She’d once again left the phone in her room while she ate and cleaned up. It was a new feeling and she felt equal parts nervous and elated by the notion that her time, at least while she ate a meal, might be her own and not the property of anyone who might call.
Ann knew better than to call the Jude. He preferred text messages. She texted: C U tomorrow at feed time. Is quarantine lifted?
He text back: Yes
At 3:00am, Ann sneaked from the ranch house, wandered into the barn to give her regards to Ivy, Joey and Metta as well as the the three other horses in the barn. She wondered briefly if the other three are horses that she had sent to Dee as culls from the track or if they came to her through the auction. She loaded her bag soundlessly into her truck and pulled out of the ranch. Only after she was on the road heading down the canyon did she put her headlights on. She’d written a thank you note to Dee and had left it on the kitchen table. The note read simply “Muchas Gracias Chica.” She’d patted the silky heads of the hounds and they showed their gratitude by keeping quiet. With any luck, she would be entering the San Fernando valley by 9am, at the tail end of commute traffic. She had a full two and a half hours of driving before daybreak just her and the road. Somehow it felt luxurious to be alone. It would be the buffer before her life, her Vida Loca resumed it’s hectic pace.
Tomorrow, she would have to get more than a dozen frisky horses their exercise after a few days of rest for all of them.
Grateful for the break nevertheless, Ann was eager to get back to her barn and her horses.
Her truck sped southward through the center of California.