Me and Billy The Kid never got along. Billy could shoot offenses like a six gun on fire. He rode lazy in the saddle because he finished his milk with whiskey. His hair was hacked with a knife and his eyes were always wild. He loved to brag about how many rules he broke.
This bored me because it was easy for a man to break rules. First, they didn’t have very many. Second, they were only judged by men. Even the hoop skirted women tossed their shoulders back in fake disgust at Billy’s appalling behavior. Women were judged by men, ladies, and God as translated by his disciples: more men.
On my thirty seventh birthday, I wore a pair of stolen trousers. I took my braids out and let my hair unravel below my breasts. No corset, no collar, I stole his shirt. I stole his hat. And then I stole his horse. I slit the saddle off and left it beside him while he slept. I slugged back three swirls of whiskey and spilt his milk so he would have something to cry about. I rode off under the strawberry moon.
I love to ride. It’s freedom from eyes who have opinions. It’s being alive. It’s being lost. Because you can’t really be found or discovered if you aren’t lost. I grew to love being lost. Stability was mundane. Expectations clung like thistles to my skirt. Thistles didn’t cling to trousers and boots did nicely to squish anything rancid underfoot.
I hated the word pardon and Billy never made me say it. He could never make me do anything. I could never make him do anything.
I suppose that’s why we always got along.