Daughters of the Dirt / Sarah Higdon

The Ride
An excerpt from the new book: Red Boots and Attitude
by Mónica Gómez

It's when you're dying inside you need one most. A doomed affair is the hottest of honey we pour over our smiling tongues knowing the aftertaste will be bitter and caustic enough to brand us a fool.

It's delicious abandon, loving a dead end -- without retirement plans, or cribs to buy, or respectability to visit on Sunday, no dressing up, or introductions, or consequences worth considering in the face of a passion that recognizes our mutual desperation to fill aching bellies with warmth, like Pooh on a binge, all innocence and desire and knowing how right it is
when his jeans fit just the way you've dreamed of and her eyes are the most wonderful green.

You are co-conspirators in making the world a better place for people who just want to stop the pain of all that has gone before and be loved . . .all the better to be relative strangers, that way it can't be because you're rich or powerful, although neither of you usually is either of those. These rare, flash attractions are the purest and most sincere of comings together. Heat-seeking missiles dressing wounds with the blissful chemistry of warm sun and a cold beer amid a crowd... listening to music, making conversation, waiting for the first touch to convert a courteous, best-behavior handshake to nuclear release, liberated from the reason, all the common sense and good judgment which have betrayed you. Set free on a fresh, untrampled expanse of snow-white possibilities when behind you lies a burned-out field of efforts to be rational and considerate and cautious.

"But you just met the man! He has nothing. He was hauling horses, living out of his trailer."

"He's a con man. You've lost your senses."

"You'll be disinherited. We're only thinking of your own good."

But the shirt, which exactly matched his blue eyes, was so beautifully pressed. And his courteous drawl under that white hat was the cowboy fantasy personified. And he had perfected the way to treat a lady. The price of admission was inconsequential even when you could see straight through his smile to the door clearly marked "Fools exit here." You stepped right up. It was time to go for the ride and nothing else would do but the real thing. No daydreams or dime novels, no girl talk or meditation, no church groups or counseling could replace the man who needed what you had to offer enough to play the part you had advertised for. He was exactly what you ordered, every bit as bad and good as you were aching to find... like drawing the very bronco who could give a ride with consequences. Staying on forever wasn't the point . . .only a memorable eight seconds amid a lifetime of plodding along on docile plugs who after more than a decade of sharing a harness turn out to be shysters with double lives, or high-stakes gamblers, or cross-dressers who came home on time and swore they were doing it all so you would have a future.

And when you've had your wild tear across the arena and become aware of the crowd watching as you dust yourself off and try to walk without showing the bruises and breaks, you don't want back on the puffing beast you've come to respect like you do a cactus -- because it's a living thing designed to hurt you -- and you don't want to be part of the crowd again. You don't mind being alone. The memories are finally getting interesting enough to make good company.
This, and other tales of the grit, grace and gumption of Texas women writers, can be found in the new book, Red Boots and Attitude.  This excerpt courtesy of Eakin Press.  Used with permission.  All rights reserved.