Mission - San Francisco, CA
Cormac M. | Author | A dusty home at the end of a road, NM
The girl and the boy wait in line sharing no words between them. She wears the patchwork uniform of a young Bohemian. Tights quaintly shredded. Faded garments a manufactured history of a life she hasn’t led. Eyes dulled by ceaseless days of studied indolence.
The boy distractedly polishing a computer mobile phone with a scarf patterned by the long forgotten runes of an indigenous culture. His hands as soft as a baby’s.
The girl nudges the boy. Look, she says.
They both look down the street. Shimmering in the heat waves, the unspeakably alien image of a solitary rider on a horse. Coming their way at a funeral pace.
The lady in the food truck is saying something to the couple but they can’t stop looking down the street. The girl, taken by a sudden and ancient panic, grabs for the boy’s hand. Finding no succor in his chalky grip, her hands move to her neck.
Horse and rider are now less than a block away. The roan Appaloosa gamely walking down the center line. Cars yielding with silent deference.
The rider tugs the reins and the horse veers toward the couple. The girl looks up at the figure on the horse and sees a man of indistinct but advanced years. Skin nearly indistinguishable from his faded and sun parched leathers. A well-used rifle in a holster along the saddle. A silver and glass locket at his neck. Inside, a lock of hair.
The horse comes to a stop inches from the girl’s face. Steamy equine breath envelopes her. A smell not known to her people since the time of her great grandparents. She reaches for the horse, tentatively, feeling underneath its hide a terrifying aliveness. She begins to weep. It is an inconsolable wail born from the deep rage of years lost and wasted. The boy watches helplessly and makes no move toward her.
The rider leans down from the saddle, his orchestra of leathers creaking in protest. He extends a scarred hand to the girl. Come on now, he says.
The girl reaches for the rider, knowing the sinews that guide her hand are not her own.