Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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What he remembered now, years later, was that the running felt the way slow motion looks. He had a head start, but the bull was gaining on him. He had gone to help feed the heifers. He went everywhere with his father, to the feed store and the welding shop. He thought the welding shop was what heaven would be like, tongs and sparks and the clang of creation and God in the heavy black mask and spark-scarred smock.
His father was yelling, running, and at the same time trying to bend and rake handfuls of pebbles and dirt to throw. His father caught him under the arms and sailed him over the closed gate. There were pockets of cool air and dips and lifts and the sun flashing off the mica chips and fool’s gold beneath him. Then he was on the ground and his father beside him. It was the first time he could ever recall seeing his father lying on the ground.
His father didn’t say anything, but he pulled at the air to get his breath. He sat up and swayed with heavy breathing. The bull trotted down the fence line, and they watched it. Then his father got up and spanked the dirt off his pant leg. Though his father didn’t tell him not to tell, neither of them ever mentioned it to anyone. That way the bull was always there, waiting.