The water glistened off the mare’s flank like a million precious stones. His breath caught in his throat – he’d never seen anything with such beauty in his entire life. Up to that point his days consisted entirely of dirt and rain and a constant defense of his own survival. His only memory of anything beautiful was from when he was seven, and for a painfully brief moment, there was a break in the clouds.
He was frightened then, but when he saw the setting sun twinkling between the slowing raindrops, cascading light and color everywhere it filled him with such joy. The experience was achingly brief, and in the years that followed he resented it more and more, angry that he should see such beauty, only to live out the rest of his days in depressive hopelessness. He wished he had never known there was such beauty in the world.
When he tried to explain the experience to the other kids at school, they created a whole new level of psychological abuse based on his feeble attempts to explain something too fantastic to believe – that the rain had stopped and you could see through the clouds to the sun. All these things let to his acidic bitterness towards the world. A world that would show him such beauty, only to rip it away creating a gaping wound so deep and full of torment that it never healed.
So when he first saw her, his brain didn’t even process the information presented by his eyes. He didn’t ‘see’ her at all – he had no where to put the sensory input he was receiving. But, even in that, his heart skipped a beat, and he had to turn around. When he finally saw the unicorn for what she was, he began to weep.