Archive for February 9th, 2008

The earth quivered, dust billowed and the rumble of his hooves set my heart racing. The bull in my recurring dreams was always a shiny black, snorting beast with one purpose—to get to me. Year after year he exploded into the night, bursting into my sleep. There was always a fence or tree behind me, but far beyond my capacity to climb even in my youth. As I aged my muscles turned from girly to jiggly and the chance of escape narrowed. But again and again I grabbed onto a branch or railing and prayed for strength to propel my body upward. In this position I could no longer see those bleached horns thundering toward me as I waited for the impaling. Then I would wake—always in time.

Even in the daylight “El Toro” inserted himself into my life. He was in the Texas pastures of my youth, the stock pens my dad and I visited the night before the auctions. Rodeos and bull riding were inescapable. But later in life I didn’t have to watch bullfights in movies or on TV or lock my eyes on the stock market bull when it filled the screen, but I did. What you resist you attract. There is no other explanation. The pull toward the menacing, magnificent animal grew stronger as the nighttime escape from him grew more intense. He was gaining on me, closing his distance before I reached the fence.

On a night about ten years ago I sat up after an encounter, my heart pounding. The screams that had no sound a second ago were muffled by my hand. No more. I could not take any more. I decided at that moment that next time it would be different; I would not run. I would not run. Could I will myself in that dream state to do the bidding of my cognizant mind? I was determined to try.

The bull was patient. He didn’t appear for months, but when he did, returned more menacing and determined than before. The familiar fear washed over me. He pawed the earth, looked up at me from his bowed head, and snorted.

“Go ahead,” my dream self said, “Do what you will. I am not running any longer. I can’t.”

El Toro’s massive muscles rippled as he aimed his blackness toward me. I stiffened my body and rooted my feet to the ground. He grew closer in a dust storm. Suddenly the thundering ceased, the dust swirled past me.

Morning came. I sat up in bed remembering his broad nose and forehead, gigantic even above his massive chest. I could see in my mind his long, black eyelashes. It was the last time I saw him.

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