I pull on the 2 legs sticking out of her private parts. I pull as hard as I can until 2 more legs show and a calf falls to the earth. I pet the calf. He probably thinks I’m his mom. But that’s what I want.
I make sure my calf gets properly fed on his first day and I pet him more the whole time while he eats. By nighttime, I pull 2 mangos off our tree and bring them home for dinner. My mom has boiled yucca and rice for me. She doesn’t care for nothing about the news of the calf. Only I’m aware of the great thing that’s about to happen to my life.
The calf eats more and grows stronger. I give it what feels like all the love in my 10-year-old body. I rest my head near its neck and take naps. When I bathe in the river that runs close to my house, I also wash the calf. Then I get on its back like I would a horse and ride it around in the field until we’re dry and dizzy from the sun.
Every night I think of a name to give my calf. Because he’s black with a white star on his head and down his nose, in the end I name him Diamante.
One morning, Diamante is a bull who still thinks I’m his mom. When he’s out in the fields eating grass and sees me, he always runs to where I am and nudges me with his nose and rubs against me and purrs.
Diamante is the biggest bull in this part of Cuba.
I tie a lasso around his neck, put a rope through his nose, and ride him like it’s the most natural thing in the world. I use a blanket for a saddle.
I start to ride him around to do my daily errands. When people see me coming, they point at me and scream that I’m going to get killed, but they don’t know Diamante is my son, not a raging bull.
Every sunset, I take him by the river close to my house and we run fast through the field. For long stretches, I open my mouth to feel the rush of air. Then I push everything out with a mighty scream. To be honest, riding him makes my butt raw. I even start to walk funny.
To remember everything, my uncle the photographer takes a picture of me sitting on Diamante right before I head into town. Even though I’m healthy and shirtless and on top of my bull, something inside my body knows this picture will make me sad when I’m older and confused.