I was in the passenger seat of his black truck headed west to the countryside. Red dirt crept from every crevice, from the floor mats to the textured plastic of the door handles. We silently peered through the windows as Jacksboro Highway relieved our tension, the buildings and pavement replaced with lonesome road signs and a vast stretch of green fields and trees. The external silence fueled my internal noise as I sat in thought. The mind can process thoughts up to 500 words per minute and my 500 words were muddling over how I felt about sitting there in that Dodge truck aside that silent cowboy.
I felt like there soon…. Soon there was something that was going to anger me, and I felt like that anger was going to sever the cord that had been dragging me underneath for months. I was afraid of it… But my conscious was keen on freedom.
I felt I would finally get the explanation I’d been looking for. Maybe the reason why I’d been heartbroken for so long. In a snap! I could be freed.
I think I ponder what freedom I really desired. To be free of him? Or maybe it was the freedom we would feel when we finally got away from it all.
I felt the waterfalls of sweat chasing my ass crack as we entered the edge of the tree line. Our guns weighing down the journey, I huffed and bent down to one knee. Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 followed suit but took it a step further, laying his head on my lap. I frowned to myself but reluctantly, relieved, rested my arm upon his chest as I surveyed the clearing.
We hadn’t seen any pigs yet, maybe it was too hot. The sun stared hard at us in the west, hopefully its descent drew out what we were looking for. Hunting always called for silence, my favorite part. And in that silence we didn’t always find what we hunted, but according to Big🐗Bear🌵🌟, that’s why it’s called “hunting” and not “shooting”.
Jackson, our guide and Big🐗Bear🌵🌟’s best friend, crawled to the opposite side of the tree line to look the other direction. I immediately followed him, abandoning Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 where he laid, wanting to reassure that I came here to hunt and not to play cupcake. A cluster of pig backs stood off in the distance, wire-haired tails swishing the pestering mosquitoes. The blonde grass made them very prominent, their black rumps stuck out like sore thumbs.
When you see your prey an adrenaline switch makes you forget everything else. Whether your palms were clammy, or your socks were soaked through your boots. If your sour lemon bug spray didn’t do a damn thing to deter insect bites, if you were worried about your partner’s ulterior motive. It didn’t matter.
I pulled my gun up to my shoulder to eye my shot. Jackson grinned to my right, his face buried in the binoculars. I closed my left eye and breathed through my mouth silently, and the stillness reminded me. Where was Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 at? He was missing this.
I turned to wave him over, but he was no longer where he was. I snapped my head left to right in search. My anticipated triumph vanished immediately to slump my shoulders into a slight anxiety.
Pigs was his favorite part.
I looked through my scope again, I could see they were so close! They stood maybe 200 yards out, and dusk was rapidly arriving. Pigs, tree line, search, pigs, tree line, search.
WHERE was Big🐗Bear🌵🌟?!
I felt it was rude not to wait, and I was surprised by how defeated I felt to pause in that exciting moment. Suddenly, some branches fell quickly to the ground, then stopped midair and lifted. Up and down, up and down, quickly the branches were waving! I squinted, how absolutely absurd.
I looked back at the pigs. Just standing there! I thought. What a perfect shot. I glanced back to the branches. Are they..? Were the branches BECKONING me to come to them? I squinted again. Is that?
Big🐗Bear🌵🌟 was foolproof in camouflage. Full-body animate as a wind-sock, he used his legs, hips, and arms like giant wafters to pull me to his place. In his silent commotion he shouted silent exaggerated words.
“COME HERE!” He mouthed.
I pointed and mouthed back,”THEY ARE RIGHT THERE!”
“NO!” He shook his head big and waved his long arms to form circles.
“COME HERE!” He demanded, pointing to where he stood. Frustrated, but with no choice than to trust him, I stealthily ran back.
Reaching his side I felt a panic, worried about the loudly snapping twigs under my boots. He rushed up so close I smelled the sweat beading down his neck. My gaze flowed over his uneven nostrils to his amber eyes and he whispered, “There’s a pig literally right there walking,” and he pointed west. Fifty yards away a pig back sashayed across the clearing. He smiled eccentrically and I absorbed his excitement as he continued.
“You’re gonna go over there, and you’re gonna shoot it.”