22 Sep

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My wife has a big heart. She came home and said, “Lots of people in Rosarito are starving. They don’t have enough money to eat. A man tried to sell me a horse today. He can’t afford to feed it – its bones are sticking out. It’s going to die.”

We drove over to see the horse, a brown mare. First we stopped off at a guy’s house and bought a big bag of alfalfa, like we were scoring five kilos of weed. We drove to the lot on the poor side of town where the horse was being kept. It came right over to the metal gate. I grabbed some alfalfa and the horse ate out of my hand. Its ribs were corrugated, its hoofs cracked and what looked to be hard ulcers stuck out on its forelegs. A couple of guys came over and told us the horse was ours for a $120. We learned the mare was named Rosalinda.

One of the guys could hardly look me in the eye; his dirty feet were in flip flops and he was missing a couple of teeth. I watched the horse walk over to a water bucket and dip its muzzle down and come up dry. It was one thing to not have money to feed a horse; it was something else altogether to deny it water.

The guy who owned the horse wasn’t around and we were told we’d have to come back tomorrow.

Sophy and I drove up to our lot, where we were building our house, talking about buying Rosalinda. On the dirt road leading to our lot we saw a guy on horseback. Sophy stopped and rolled down the window and started asking the guy questions about the practicalities of buying a horse. I noticed the rider’s mare was sleek and beautiful; calm and following his commands. The guy’s name was Rodolfo and his mare was named Lucero and he lived in the same community where we building our house. By the end of the conversation we learned that Rodolfo was a groom. He offered to care for our horse until our house was built. It was clear I was going to learn a lot about horses from Rodolfo.

Instead of bringing Rosalinda the ten miles by truck, Rodolfo said he would lead her over a mountain trail, with him riding Lucero.

I felt like I’d just parachuted into a Cormac McCarthy novel.


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