For centuries it was said that the border swallowed those who attempted to cross it. An old wives’ tale, many said, constructed to keep children in line. On both sides, children played the same games. If they played all together without speaking, one would imagine the ball still being kicked, carried beyond goals.
The shadow of Diego’s house just touched the hills that touched the border at late afternoon in the month of July. This, said Diego’s mother, was the line where small children and men could be lost. No one would know what had happened but you would never see that person again. Small boys grew into men but their eyes still shone with the mischief. Some day they would challenge the eater of men. Each day it grew in importance rather than died with their childhood dreams. They still planned in whispers; they still caught the gleam of the line as, touched by the sun, it beckoned with flashes of gold light every day at high noon.
One night Diego and his closest friend Juan bellied up to the border. Their breath was heavy with excitement and fear. Their eyes met in moonlight, their nods in agreement. As one, they sprang up and ran.
They ran as if chased by black devil bulls. Diego heard the crowd cheering, saw the ball flying, felt the heavy weight as he was tackled and fell.