Honourable mention in the 3rd Annual Geist Literal Literary Postcard Story Contest.
Weeks before Stampede, I come upon a cowboy walking in the park. Even though he’s left his Stetson in the car, I know he’s a real cowboy, not pretending. He’s wearing Wrangler jeans (seams on the outside to prevent chafing), boots with pointed toes and heels that click on the paved path. The space between his legs is wide enough for a horse.
It’s a little early for cowboys, especially in Glenmore Park. He seems out of his element.
I overtake him in my wind pants and thick-soled hiking shoes, try to wrestle my mind back to its daily meditation on the nature of suffering, ground squirrels and grocery lists.
She’s into spiritual stuff, he says into his cellphone.
I wonder if I’ve heard right, or if my interior monologue has leaped out of my head and mingled with his phone call.
She was talkin’ about Buddhism.
He says it with a lilt on the first syllable and a long vowel, slow and plain, the way a cowboy talks. Boo-dizm.
Even the ground squirrels stand up, pay attention.