Father and son worked together repairing fence destroyed from fighting bulls.  Together, they pulled mangled t-posts, cut broken wires and spliced new strands at place where bulls broke through.  The fight began and carried through fence on account of cows, in heat, running on the far side.  In communing with the objects of their avarice, the bulls lived two days of blindness, running wild, and settling every cow that would take before becoming self-aware again to the pangs of hunger and followed a feed truck into corral where they were caught and trailered home.  Discovering itself captured, one protested with a violence that sent Ryan diving over pipe panel for safety.  With its demonstration of force complete, the bull loaded docile and indifferently into trailer for movement back to home pastures. 

                The son started on the fence with clean wire wrapped twice around the heavy corner post that set and braced the fence.  The son tied wire off in wrapping hold, then spooled outward to the broken point from the bulls.  At break-point, the father spliced, drawing wire taught and wrapping free ends in curls around tensioned strain of the other so line would hold and keep in tensioned place.  The father worked with a focus as his son—eyes red and head pounding—endured.  The father knew his son was hurting, but his son did not complain. 

                That was part of it.  One was free to do as one wished, but must in the consequences of free will. 

                The father knew the feeling.  It is a stage lived different by all even if much experiences the same.  One lives, learns, grows, and only after changing and looking back through the eyes of someone different does one know the stage is past. 

                The father heard of his son’s night, as had much of the town; but he didn’t ask, and his son didn’t say. 

                Words are not always needed to understand. 

                With wires spliced, the two retrieved t-posts from the flatbed of the truck and drove them into the earth at twelve-feet intervals parallel with the tensioned wires.  After posts were driven, each began at opposite end of the new-fence stretch fastening wires with metal clips to the driven posts.  Aside from the shine of fresh wire and silver paint tops of new posts, one would never know what happened. 

                Mending complete, the two stood in the sun for brief pause before returning on to day’s awaiting work. 

                Appearing to study the fence, the father spoke, “Don’t be too hard on yourself.”

                “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the son answered.

                “I know,” the father responded, “but if you are…don’t be.  Nobody’s perfect and we’re all still learning.  Sometimes we think we messed up.  Sometimes we think we’re flawed, made wrong, but our difference is a gift.  It’s a blessing of design…we just haven’t learned it yet.”

                “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the son spoke again.  His temples pounded from the night before, and his spirit lived a restlessness he could not rid.  He thought drink would cure the restlessness, but it didn’t.  It only deadened more, and under the restlessness, there held a different emptiness.  He rubbed the still fresh scars of scraped left fist with open right hand as the words of his father hit. 

                “I know,” his father spoke.  “I didn’t know either, but I know more than I used to…I read a story once about each man being a single mark in a story written by God.  One of the marks was made different.  It appeared wrong, and the mark perceived itself as a flaw.  The mark didn’t fit.  It made the sentence wrong, caused the story to change, and the mark—perceiving its difference—felt shame and denied there was reason or purpose to its creation.  It was only when the story ended—when the mark realized its purpose—that the mark understood it was not an error, but a deliberate creation, made to stand out and on which the entire story was dependent.   

                These bulls are assholes.  They’ll break through anything to get what they’re after, but that is how they are made.  They are doing what they’re designed to do.  Do you remember when we bought those others that were nice and easy to work with?  What did they do when we turned them in?”

                “Not a damn thing.” 

                “To serve our purpose, sometimes we need a little crazy in us to get it done.  You’re young.  You have a fire.  I won’t say I know where it came from…but I have an idea. 

                Wounds heal.  The world forgets—most of it never cared—and we and our troubles are never as important as we think.  Once we learn to not take ourselves too seriously, many of life’s worries fall away.”

                “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” the son spoke for a third time.

                “I know.  Just know that nobody’s perfect, and we shouldn’t damn ourselves for the times when we fall short.  There is still good within us. 

                Our failings remind us we are human—not the gods we sometimes imagine ourselves to be.  Then, one day we discover it is through our failings and imperfections, the parts in us we always fought against, that uniquely gift us to some of our greatest blessings.  Don’t deny your good dwelling on what simply shows that we are human.”

                “I’m not a saint.”

                “I never said you were.  Nor am I, and I if you asked a Saint, they would probably say the same.  Nobody becomes a saint until after death and their life is retold with flaws written out and deaf to objections from those that knew them to be human in life.  You’re not a saint, but you’re a good man.  Maybe that’s all we should shoot to be.  Don’t deny the good within you just for being human.

                I know you don’t know what I’m talking about.  Neither do I, but if you did, that’s what I’d tell you…Don’t beat yourself up.  There’s a reason you’re made the way you are, a reason you feel what you feel, and I know it isn’t today, but one day maybe it’ll all make sense.”

                “You think?” asked the son.

                “I believe,” the father answered.

                A cloud moved.  The sun cast ray upon the world, glinting off the clean strands of silver wire. 

                The fence was mend, and work remained.