The cowboy didn’t belong behind the wheel of a 2014 Mazda. It was an obnoxious iridescent green that stood out boldly against the greys mesh of buildings and skyscrapers that made up the metropolis net of the bustling city. He was too big for the seats and his boots scraped along the ridges of the plastic floor mating as he fumbled to find the gas pedal, in place of stirrups. He took off the white brimmed hat Margaret, his wife, had given him last year on his birthday and placed it onto the seat beside him. She had given him the hat and then announced, between mouthfuls of birthday cake that she was moving to New York. “Come if you’d like,” she had said.
“What do you think?” asked the salesman.
The stocky salesman had a bachelor’s degree with a double major in political science and history and had no fucking clue about cars. He got his job through a friend and halfheartedly tried to sell vehicles to people while pursuing his true passion of writing a series of graphic novels about Winston Churchill in the evenings and weekends. To him, the cowboy was just another customer.
“I don’t know,” the cowboy replied, “it just doesn’t feel right.”
He wasn’t lying. The textured cloth covering didn’t slide against his weathered blue jeans the same way his horses hide did. His callouses didn’t fit into the grooves of the steering wheel like they did into his work gloves at home. His wife approached from across the parking lot wearing a loose fitting dress and turquoise jewelry piled on top of each around her neck. She drank from a Venti Starbucks cup with a long straw that jostled up and down in her mouth as she talked.
“Oh, it looks great!” she commented to no one in particular, causing the salesman to look at the cowboy and the cowboy to look down at his ill fitted feet resting on the foreign manufactured car floor.
“Doesn’t it look great?!” she exclaimed again to no one in particular, causing the salesman to looks at her and her to look at the cowboy who was still looking at his feet.
“Well, I think it looks great,” she concluded to no one in particular.
With this last remark the cowboy looked up at his wife. Since moving East she had taken an akin liking to talking loudly, visiting art galleries and insisting that she could swim to Staten Island if she wanted to, she just didn’t see the point in accomplishing such a feat at her age. It was tiring listening to her talk these days, but the cowboy put up with it. He put up with it because he remembered the young girl in the red sundress who had smiled at him from across the room 28 years ago. The girl who fearlessly jumped off the rocks into the lake each summer. The girl who baked him a cake for his birthday every year from scratch. The girl who shyly sang karaoke on their third date and whose voice convinced him she was the one.
That’s why he sat in the green Mazda at the car lot on that Saturday, because he knew she was still there. Somewhere hidden beneath the layers of turquoise accessories and hemp clothing was the girl who smiled at him from across the room.