So blow you ol' blue northern
Blow my love to me

She was older now and it didn't seem like such a big deal any more. But it still hurt. You can fantasize about love and you can dream about love and folks can tell you about love, but it ain't never even close to what happens inside you.

Roy was the one who got his picture on the handbill they stapled up all over town a couple of weeks before the rodeo came to town. She was fifteen and couldn't quit looking at those handbills. One was on the utility pole right outside her house down at the end of Laredo Drive. That sounds romantic, but Laredo Drive in Palestine, Texas, was just the dusty end of a cul de sac so far out in the middle of nowhere that when she stood outside at night and looked at the stars, they seemed closer than the next town over.

The playbill advertising the rodeo had Roy at the apex of a bull ride. He had the familiar pose of one hand on the rope and the other hand holding his feathered cowboy hat over his head. But it was the look on his face that made this normally clichéd pose stick an arrow right in her chest. He wasn't free of fear and full of himself like the typical cowboy. He was scared to death.

So was she. No one around her had a clue, but her insides were in a constant tremble with terror about so many different things that it would have been hard to sort them. She saw a kindred spirit on that playbill and she made up her mind right then and there to go to that rodeo and meet this nameless boy who just might understand.

She told her mom and dad that she was going to spend the night with Claire. She got Claire to go along with it, and went to the Thursday opening night show. She left the stands after the first calf roping event and went down the back way to the bull pens. There the boy was, squatting on top on a gate looking down at the huge animal beneath him. And there was that look on his face. She was right. It was pure fear.

There's a young man that I know, whose age is twenty one
Comes from down in southern Colorado

She'd heard that song somewhere on the radio once while riding in the family car on a trip. She remembered that her mom hummed along while her dad seemed totally unaware. Hard to say why it'd crop up in her mind right now. Surely this boy wasn't from Colorado. He looked more like an Oklahoma boy.

He caught her looking at him and quickly threw his eyes to the ground. She decided now was not a good time and walked back the way she came. She went back to her seat and watched the entire show. Her favorite cowboy in the show didn't fare so well. He came in dead last in the calf roping, and his ride on that white bull lasted one hard buck.

She stood around the entrance gate long after most of the folks had left, and got her wish. He was limping pretty badly.

Young eyes locked. Heat waves intensified into visible patterns of desire. The ever-present dust began to be expelled with violent breathing at a rate so intense that it resembled large reptilian forms resigned to return to their brown flatlands. And in congruence with the time of the creation of the universe, it was over in an instant.

There were two things changed by the encounter. The boy who was supposedly afraid of cattle turned out to have secretly been afraid of a much larger yet more ephemeral beast. He no longer was, and any future poster with his photo on it would forever be that much more of a cliché. He would never again have anyone like this come looking for him, and the regret would ferment in his gut as unexpelled toxins until the day he died.

The more important change was on the cellular level. This change was happening inside the girl, but it was not happening anywhere near the place inside her where she felt the love. This was deeper and much closer to her gut. This was the feel of a change that could kill you.

My parents can not stand him, cause he rides the rodeo
My father says that he will leave me crying

Now she lives on the same planet and in the same place where it happened, but she's not a Texan anymore. She's hardly an American, and she's barely human. She's eaten out by daytime TV and remorse and the curse of her parents and the haunting of memory. She'd drink if she was thirsty. She'd drown if it would help.

He loves his damned old rodeo as much as he loves me
Some day soon, goin' with him some day soon