Every Year
by  Caroline


At the start of every new year I would tell myself that this would be the one Ė the year when my life would get better.  It sure as hell couldnít get any worse.  Itís funny how easy it is to believe that some miracle is gonna happen.  Even twenty years of being kicked in the balls every time I tried to make something of myself didnít take away that last little spark of optimism. 

I know there are a lot of people who have it worse than me and that Iíve only got myself to blame for the choices I made.  I could have stuck around after my mama died but it wasnít in me to work another manís land and be grateful for the scraps he threw my way.  Besides, I was too damn angry to settle down.  I wanted to make someone pay.  Truth was I wanted Lancer to pay only I didnít have the guts to ride up to his fancy white hacienda and call him out.

My choice was to pick up a gun and die bloody.  Except that it turned out I had a talent and it was always the other man who died.  Not that I didnít come close a few times.  Iíve got the scars to prove it.  So every year I kept on lying to myself.  I fought in range wars, putting my life on the line for the fat, greedy, ranchers.  Not that those bastards were ever grateful.  They couldnít wait to get rid of me and my kind once the fighting was over.  I even tried working as a vaquero a few times.  It never lasted long.  I was always blamed for any trouble, even if it had nothing to do with me. 

Over the years my reputation grew and so did the challenges.  I faced young kids who thought taking me down would make them famous.  Then there were the old-timers whoíd been gun slingers for longer than Iíd been alive.  They were all damn fools.  I took them down without a momentís regret.  Yeah, thatís another lie right there, but I kept it locked away inside and no-one ever knew.  After a few shots of tequila even I could almost believe it.

I almost didnít walk away from my last fight and thatís when I made my final choice.  I rode south and found myself a village where the men were just itching to start a little revolution.  It was hopeless from the start and I reckon I should have tried to talk them out of it.  It was short and it wasnít pretty and I sure shouldíve seen where I was gonna end up.

One blessing is that I wonít see another new year and wonít have to lie to myself any more.  This year my life ends and maybe thatís the only miracle I deserve.  In a couple of minute I wonít have to worry about being angry any more.  Itíll all be over.



November, 2011






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