Thursday, June 7, 2007

The Hold Up: A Border Saga Part X

Gomez hobbled in a hollow reverie for survival. He scurried as a rat and made his movements in the face of the sun beating down a world swathed in light. Gomez had five or six miles to go and no highway or river to follow.

There would be no Huck Finn to his escape. He was battle-battered and felt it, the cruel blow of the pistol still christened its likeness in his muscle memory. Gomez’s eyes searched as far as he could see, no sign of anything. The heat waves certainly made distance a game of catch and release, just as Gomez thought he had arrived somewhere another plateau set the bar higher.

He had been coming and going for nearly three hours when a homestead made its presence discernable in the masks of heat. Gomez trickled toward it, alone in the world in this corner with nothing to back against. This home seemed like a freedom that the invisible line at his country and this country couldn’t muster between them.

Gomez hid himself from any prying eyes that might be lurking in the unseen areas of this oasis. He bandied an arc to the watering trough of the livestock and plunged his head in. Immediately the world above disappeared, the sounds, the sights, the weather, his cuts burnt and cleansed in the abyss, the top of his matted head soothed by the coolness of the water, he drank and his stomach filled, his throat blew out the flame, he dipped his rough hands and rubbed his face clear of any dried blood. Then he broke the surface.

Water streamed down his front and back and sides, its cooling grace taking the oppressive heat everywhere but here. He cupped his hands and drank again, he brushed his hair back, he looked around for people, helicopters and the sun. When he cleared the sky of the first two then he made his direction and set off.

***

In a farm home a woman saw a bloodied Mexican dump himself into her horses’ water trough and look around wildly. She watched him and when she saw him walking away she grabbed the phone and dialed three numbers.

***

Gomez felt the water get heavier with each new step. He was two miles from the border and all the freedom that came with it.

He depended on how fast he could keep his feet shuffling ahead of everyone and everything that was after him. He knew that with each step he made they made two. The race was only midway through and already both sides were losing.


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