Mama and the Bull

Posted by Martha Wills on March 10, 2014 

Mama woke up this morning ready to ride the bull. She’s had a lot of practice riding bulls in her life. Most mamas do. She’s no different.

It’s just that today, this mama was sure her bull was out there, unlike the other bulls who’d usually sneak up on her. She was always caught by surprise, which makes bull riding a lot more wily. But today, she could feel this one coming. She could hear his nasal snorting, see the spray of steam being pushed from the nose. It wasn’t pretty and didn’t smell very nice, but mama was glad that if nothing else she had a minute to look before he leapt.

It helped, too, that mama was more ready than usual. Due to a series of unfortunate events she’d been given a clearer picture of what she was made of. She finally understood that underneath her fluffy middle and plain looking face, deeper inside where her loving, but lonely heart lived, was the same fire that lived inside the strongest, meanest bull riders out there. For mama, life had taken some turns that she hadn’t quite expected. Some of those turns had circled themselves into loops, and the process of going round and round and round was just as awful as when she’d turn a corner and find her face smacked hard by some brick or cement wall.

So there they were, mama and the bull, staring each other down. And as they gave each other the evil eye, the heat from anticipation built up between mama’s two stubborn feet and his equally stubborn front facing hooves.

The bull wasn’t going to back down, and unlike those times in recent history where mama didn’t have it in her to fight or ride, or even bother, mama wasn’t going to back down either.

So they danced, and danced, mama waving her red-checkered kitchen rag, and the bull snarling and butting his head up against the fast flying cloth. She was going to ride that bull, but she had to get a hold of him first.

This time, though, instead of riding the big animal, mama thought, no… let’s try something new. Instead of bull dancing (the one step, two step, jump on his back and hold on for dear life) mama danced faster and with more ferocity than she’d ever done with any other bull before. There was more at stake this time, and both mama and the bull knew it. So she danced and danced, fast moving feet, which confused the bull, and eventually tired the poor guy out.

Looking straight into his eyes she danced him down. Danced the pudding right out of him. Trance danced the big animal until he was weak as a baby calf, though much less soft and sweet.

By the time the bull realized mama’s strategy it was much too late, and the poor animal’s heavy body collapsed mid-ring. He looked rather timid in his snoring and slumbering state, and seeing this, a big grin grew across mama’s face. 

Was she pleased!

She smiled while standing over him, laughing at how small he looked, and how big she felt. She felt as big as a mountain. She felt as tall as a tree.

The sun starting to set, mama knew it was time to go.

She looked out over the road that would lead her home and for as far as she could see, just beyond the house that was filled with children and love, was a straight and even path, not a turn or loop in sight.

There would be more bulls. There were always more bulls.

But for now, she had won, and like the beast that she’d left sleeping back there in the ring, mama was much too tired to do anything more than kick up her feet and call it a day. 

So she ordered a pizza, rang the dinner bell for the kids to come home, and smiled even wider at the thought of what her sleeping bull had helped her to do… she’d won herself a bit of time, a future… clear, focused and untwisting.

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