Son, I know you think of me as just another broke down old cowpoke. You go off to that school in town, and when you come back, I can see it in your eyes. You look at the old man and you see the lined face, you see the missing fingers, you see me limp around the place, and I know it fills you with shame, to think this is your old man.
I know some other things, son. And cuz I love you, I had Bernie in town help me write this and name it and put it here, where I hope you'll find it. And I hope it gives you some comfort and understanding. Cuz I know how it is, believe me.
You see, back before Momma died, hell, back before I ever even met her, I was a lot like you.
One year -- which one doesn't matter -- we were preparing for shearing. The shearers -- that same old family of Basques who've shorn our sheep since my Poppa was a boy -- were already here and getting settled in. Our job was to gather Red Cliff pasture and have 'em ready for the afternoon.
I must have been about your age, let's say 14 -- in fact, I was -- and this was the first year I was gonna be officially in charge of rounding up anything important. Of course, Poppa sent old Mr. Chavez with me to "help," which is to say to teach me how to lead the roundup. And also to drive when necessary.
I was with the horsebacks. Mr. Chavez was in that old green Ford pickup that you can see out your window. The one that has never been driven, since you were born. Mr. Chavez was making the rounds, the way he always did, giving his orders. Only difference was that he was sayin' "Michael wants us to" this and that, so they all knew it was me givin' the orders, now. Poppa already had the cough. Everybody knew he had the Bad Disease, from all his smokin' and that I was gonna be on my own before long. So they all went along with the joke. Only, it wasn't funny.
As I came outta the tack shed with my saddle and stuff, I saw him. We had this grey dappled mare and he was mounted on her, already. I saw him immediately, and I almost stopped right where I was.
He might have been younger than me. He might have been older than the hills. He was strong and proud and round and young. He had the raven hair of his People, splashing down, around his shoulders. And he saw me, and saw through me. And we looked and connected. He looked so perfect there, like he was born to horseback. Round and muscular, straight and limber. Even the old mare held her head high. Even she looked down her long nose at me, as if to say, in unison with him, "This is my land, these are my people. We are old. Older than the stones. You may see us, touch us, but you may never reach us, save you become one of us." All this in a glance.
He lifted the reins a tiny bit, and the grey stepped, turning. Turning around and stepping back a step and stopping. So her rider could turn and look at me again. So I could see him look at me on purpose. I nodded and blushed, and hurried over and saddled my usual in those days, a chestnut gelding named "Goofy," cuz of his funny ears.
When everybody was ready, we headed out. It was a half mile or so to the gate into Red Cliff, so we had some time to just mellow out and finish waking up. That year, we had an early spring, and it was pleasant. Maybe 60, 65 in the early mid-morning. Might get to 75, maybe even a little more, by the time we were done.
I was the last out of the corral. By the time I got the gate back in place and was back in the saddle, I had some catching up to do. Most of the group was bunched up, but there was one straggler. I could tell who it was by the posture. By the way he sat -- possessed -- that grey mare. By the way she moved under him. Not the mare I knew. A younger, stronger horse. A wild thing, permitting itself to be used. Permitting it. Willing and lithe. Not the old grey at all, somehow.
He let me catch up with him. Let me come alongside him. We rode along in silence, and it was perfect somehow. Somehow we both knew that to speak was to ruin something wild and perfect. To speak was to bring the city and its ways and the distinctions of our social places and problems of language -- to bring all that down upon us -- and so we rode in silence. So little spoken. So much said.
Somehow, riding with him, I became aware of the land. Of its extent, its endlessness. Of how it connected with more land, with different lands, distant lands. Of how it ran down to distant waters. Of how we walked upon it. Not as owners, not as invaders. As a part of it. A part that the land respects to the exact extent that we respect the land. I could see it, the broad sweep of it, the wholeness of it. The perfection. Him and me at the center of the circle. Perfect. Meant to be there. Respected.
I looked at him and he looked back. Smooth and handsome. Dusky skin all clear and smooth. His eyes deep. Dark and unfathomable, but looking at me -- almost through me -- looking at me: clear and kind. Seeing and understanding. Something...
As we all got through the gate, I heard him speak briefly with one of the others. Just a few syllables. Not Spanish, not Navajo. Maybe Hopi? Zuni? Prob'ly Zuni, from his looks.
It was a hot day, for April. When we were done we were sweaty and covered with dust. I gestured at the water tank and he grinned. Quickly, we shed our clothes and ran to the tank. It was slightly too tall to easily jump in. I made a basket with my fingers, and he stepped in, swinging his leg up and around, over my head. Displaying his glorious boyhood to me. Close. Perfect. The lamp of lust sputtered to life.
I vaulted in, before I could get hard and betray myself. Coming down right in front of him. Showing him everything. Plenty enough. He was watching. He looked me in the eyes. Looked at me and smiled. Not a grin. Not a reassurance. Not "See, I'm harmless." More like "I like you and we have a bond."
We laughed and splashed, until it got pretty chilly. Getting out wasn't easy. In fact, if the tank hadn't been full, it might have been a real sumbitch. But we jumped out, dried off in the sun for a second, and ran off, back to the pump house to get dressed again.
When we got there, I just looked at him. Something. Something powerful. A longing. He took a step forward and put his hand on my heart. It felt good there. He gave a little nod to himself and reached up, placing his hand behind my head. Approaching and kissing me. Once, lightly, on the lips. When I didn't flinch, he gave a little sigh, kissing me again, deeper this time. He reached down and held my hardening dick. Just held it, kissing me harder, more confidently.
I was on fire for him. I held his face in my hands, framing it. Kissed him, kissed his chin, his neck, down across his collar bone, across his chest, stopping to appreciate a dark and generous nipple, down to where his treasure lay against him, straining for heaven. Of course he was un-cut, natural. Of course he had the merest patch of silken hair. Of course he was hot, eager, sighed as my warm wet mouth engulfed him, hummed as I held him there, yelped in delight as the skin came back, as his sweet secret treasure was revealed. As the warmth and tenderness of my mouth were revealed to him, anew. Hummed and gently moaned, as his pleasure rose, as his nuts rose, as he drew up, all tight and perfect. As the head of his dick grew, as he spread and thrust himself to let me take all of him, in my mouth and between my hands. As he gasped his ecstasy, as he throbbed and thrusted. As he trusted me with his most personal feeling, his most personal place. As he cried out his joy and release, as he gave me his seed, as he sighed his thanks. As he looked in my eyes. Unguarded now. As he smiled at me, accepting, as he kissed me again and slid down, playing with my skin as he went. As I felt the heat and the wetness. As I felt him suckle there, so tenderly, as I felt him raise me to the pleasure place and hold me there, wanting release, wanting it. The hot tenderness on my blazing shaft. Balls full, so full, so urgent, the blazing beauty of the warm wetness on my shaft. My dick so big, so heavy, so full. Him making me hang there, bigger by the second. Him making me part my thighs, making me give my balls to him. Him taking them, holding in the energy, building, building, the sweetness of his mouth. Him moving so slowly, me so tight, so ready to cum. Him so slow. So very... very... slow... and the burning, as the first load escaped the tiny blazing ecstasy-hole of my gland, deep inside. As the get-ready place filled with the sweet burning fire, hanging there, nothing moving. The land spread out around me. Frozen. Time frozen. Ecstatic fire. The sweet, sweet ecstasy of the lips, blazing. A tiny movement. Tiny. Enough. Up! A consuming climax: hard, sweet, deep, complete, long, long, as he began to move, as he pumped me with authority, as he made me give him everything, everything, everything... everything. The ecstasy still there, fading, as he held me, motionless, in his mouth, in his hand. As the feeling faded, and he stood to look, to reach and hug himself to me. As we stood there. As the land stretched out around us, stretched to the distant shores. As we stood in the middle of the land. Perfect.
He mounted, and they rode off. The old grey mare dappled and prancing. A wild thing once again. Both of them. Perfect.