A Miss is as Good as a Mile

Back in the 70’s a man and woman fell in love, I don’t know where and I don’t know how. Could’ve been at a saloon, could’ve been at her sister’s wedding where the guy was the best man, standing tall in his shiny black boots. Hell, maybe it was at the dance after the rodeo, could’ve been any of those places Maybe he saw her across a room or some other damned place, and felt his heart ping and then melt. She felt a stirring inside, recognized him from some long ago place, their hearts whispered, “That’s the one.”

Could’ve gone a lot of different ways. Maybe they danced. Maybe they only saw each other across the bleachers at a football game, I don’t know how, but there were those five or six minutes. Maybe they were dancing, and her fiancé cut in. Maybe his girlfriend said, “What’re you looking at?” and commenced pouting. No way to know.

But I do know this.

It was in spring just after Parks and Wildlife stocked Homelake. He was there fishing, still tall, but big bellied under a sweat-stained cowboy hat. Come the thaw, his tackle is always in the back of his beater farm truck, a bronze and white Chevy Scottsdale. He takes a minute to load the hook and looks off at the sky, at Mt. Blanca in the fast-changing spring light, the moving clouds.

She walks by with a friend. She’s a little bent, with a mutt on a leash, half collie or something, maybe cattle dog. She looks up and sees him gazing into the distance and turns to see what he’s looking at.

“Takes my breath away,” she says.

“Don’t I know it,” he says.

“What’re you catching?”

“Rainbows.” Big grin.

“Big enough to eat?”

“Most of ’em.” He’s smiling. He looks at her.

She pauses. She’s been gone for decades, following her husband, raising kids, building a profession, but now she’s home again. She hears the home-tones in his voice, the accents of her childhood. It warms her to the core.

“Take it easy!” she says, waving and going on her way.

“You take it easy, too, darlin’,” he says.

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