Rosa Ortiza, No Bull Part V
She could not have looked better to him had he sat down beforehand and written his ideal female specifications
Tommy Villalobos, LatinoLA Contributor
Read Part 1 Here.
Published on LatinoLA: November 3, 2014
Read Part 2 Here.
Read Part 3 Here.
Read Part 4 Here.
"What do you do think about besides bulls?"
"Brushing my teeth, dusting off my boots and mi madrecita."
She studied him. His face was as serious as if he were discussing the wide world of bulls. No hint of sarcasm, which she now felt he was incapable of whipping out in any of its diverse and annoying forms.
The mush of past movies set the stage. She listened like a captivated heroine as he went on about the features of bull riding and characteristics of bull belligerency. He espoused the rules, regulations, defeats and triumphs of bull riding like a prophet explaining the do's and don'ts of life on the biblical prairie. Long before the last "durn" had been uttered, long before the last bull had been corralled for the night, Rosa decided this was the cowboy she wanted for a friend at her elbow.
Her mother would also place her stamp of approval on him, she was sure, searing it onto his bottom with a hot branding iron. And there would be an extra beam to her smile since Leonel was a M?®jicano. Her father would most likely laugh his laugh and turn on the TV or off if it was on.
"Leonel, let's do something far away from here."
"Far away from here?" he said, looking at her as if she were a foreign subversive aiming to recruit him.
"You know, walk somewhere, or have a postre and coffee miles from here."
"Miles from here?"
"Well, not China or anything. Just down the road."
Leonel was kicking this around his head as if he were now considering China as a possibility.
Leonel kicked again. "Whenever's" were not part of Leonel's life. Growing up in the fields of Delano then jumping to college where he secured an engineering degree made him value time more than gold, jewels, women, or random amusements.
"Whenever like when?"
She looked at him then tee heed'd. He looked at her with wonder, never having heard anyone actually tee hee.
"When we feel like it, me and you, you and I, usted y yo. What do you say?"
He agreed, not knowing she was about to give him a ride that Bodacious, Bushwhacker, and Yellowjacket, legendary nasty bulls, would each give his left horn for.
"I guess so," he guessed.
They took long and short rides dondequiera, went to restaurants--two Mexican, one Italian, two Chinese and one Indian--one beach, one lousy movie, one trip through an unreasonably winding mountain road, and long, silent walks through parks. She had a grand easel on which to paint their future.
Then thoroughly by accident, they were alone one night with a big, happy moon waltzing across the sky. A woman from the big city who has told a cowboy in the moonlight with bulls bellowing and grunting in the background that she is single and without a friend in the world and receives an "Oh, yeah?" can't be blamed for feeling disheartened, disillusioned and, more or less, let down.
He reminded her of a parakeet her mother had that never learned to talk and did not even reach a hushed squawk no matter how hard her mother begged, cajoled, and threatened the perico.
For his part, Leonel found Rosa a thing to behold then behold again followed by a third beholdin'. She could not have looked better to him had he sat down beforehand and written his ideal female specifications. He found her stunning. He had no idea there was something like her on the same plane of existence as his. He found it difficult to think about bulls and bull riding: for day by day in every way, he had to rope her like a lost and wandering little dogie.
But she didn't know any of this. So, like that fly beating itself against the windowpane, she plodded on.
"It's funny how we met. You wanting to be an engineer and ending up here with a woozy head; and me, growing up in East Los, not sure what I was going to demand out of life. Yet, here we are."
"Yeah, makes you think."
"A whole bunch."
"'This is a liberal age and thoughts are free.' Byron thought that, then said it, then finally wrote it down."
"A bull rider?"
"A poet who should have been a bull rider. It's from a long poem, long ago called Don Juan."
"Oh." She stole a peek at him. In the moonlight, it was difficult to determine whether he was considering her or some bull. "You want to know what brought us together?"
To be continuedÔÇª
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