The bull always tries, every fight, to find that safe spot in the sand that he believes will provide courage or some kind of dusty comfort when the time comes: the querencia. This place where one can be grateful: at least you’re not a donkey painted to look like a zebra in Tijuana. The bull paws the ground until it looks like that stretch on the sofa where the cloth is crushed, where one always goes to sit down and read a book. Around five o’clock in the afternoon. A light bulb flickers off to the side, a flash of sequins, almost. But it’s not enough to get up for and fix, not yet. One more moment, please. Because, for a moment, in this fine blank space, triumph seems possible—it’s happened before (bulls have been pardoned for their bravery; bulls have killed the matador). And it’s happened more than once. So maybe. But then something else appears, occurs, and one is forced out, all of sudden, to another place in the world, like leaving Arles for Seville, even though the sand is similar all over the ring: we know this. And so does the bull: you can’t fool him.
Tara Deal is the author of That Night Alive: I’ve Come Close (forthcoming, winner of the 2016 novella prize from Miami University Press) and Palms Are Not Trees After All (winner of the 2007 novella prize from Texas Review Press). Her work has also appeared in Alimentum, failbetter, and West Branch, among others. She lives in New York City.
FLASH GLASS: A MONTHLY PUBLICATION OF FLASH FICTION, PROSE POETRY, & MICRO ESSAYS