I felt a little like an intruder, watching him, but I couldn’t look away. He stood under the stingy shade of a mesquite tree and a beat-up cowboy hat, slowly winding barbed wire in 100° weather. I think he must have been mending a fence, and I watched his hands slowly picking up the slack, twisting wire, somehow avoiding the sharp barbs.
Most men I’d seen working used heavy butter-yellow gloves, faded and softened by labor and time. His hands were bare. It was obvious it was something he’d done many times before. He wound the wire slowly but almost carelessly, his eyes looking off at something in the distance. It was then that he turned, looking at me from under the edge of his hat. His face might have still clung to the youthful fullness of someone in their late 20’s, but his eyes were dark and deep. Ancient. Knowing.
I caught a glimpse of smile before the light changed, and I pulled away.