Last night, on the train ride home Las Ventas, where I saw the Corrida de Toros, I was sitting just within earshot of six very elegantly-dressed American perhaps collage girls who had also seen the bullfight.
“After all that,” said one, “I’m definitely gonna be out drinking tonight.”
“Not me. I’m staying home. That was way exhausting!”
“It really was…”
“I know, I was like…”
The train went a few more stops, two of the girls got off, the four were left and I could hear pieces of their conversation.
The girl standing closest to me was had silky long black hair, a beautiful olive complexion and she was wearing a short cream-white dress of a soft clinging material. Someone said something to her from the other side, but I didn’t catch it.
“Okay,” she said. “Could we please stop talking about it!”
But not before bringing up the third matador’s “cute butt.”
“I just wanted to take a picture of his butt… that’s all. And frame it. He was like, seriously hot…”
“I know, I was like… oh my god…”
“Yeah, but he fucked up.”
How he fucked up was he was in his last act up against a big light brownish bull with what looked to me like narrow-set horns. The bull came in, swung his great heavy head down and to the left, caught the matador from underneath and and lifted him up and flung him over the huge hump of muscle on his back that was raised and bloody from the pica and banderillas hanging down off it. A cloud of dust rose up and when the matador got up off the ground, you could see the spot of dust on his pink stocking and the back of his suit where the bull’s blood had stained it. There were clumps of dirt sticking to the dark damp blood. He walked woozily over to the wall, brushed the dust off his jacket a little, twisted around and stretched out some, then went back out with his sword and muleta, the blood and dirt still all over his backside.
This, I was thinking, is when a bullfight gets really dangerous.
Because the matador has lost something. His center. And now he has to work on the fringes. Now he has to work feeling a little less graceful, a lot less elegant, and where does his confidence go? Into the bull? I focused on the dust spot on the matador’s pink sock, and the dirt clumps sticking to the blood on the ass of his “suit of light” and it seemed most important.
His name was Juan Viriato and he lasted about two or three more minutes before getting gored in the thigh, lifted, whipped over the back of the bull and gored again. His banderilleos had to rush over with their capes and wave them around to save him. He was lying face-down in the dust. They picked him up, three of them did, and carried his limp body out of the ring.
According to the papers today, he’ll be alright, but the horn went in 25 cm or 10 inches. It entered through the inner side of the right thigh, went around his femur, tore through his muscle tissues, ripped apart some sciatic nerves, then exited through the outside of the thigh and hamstring.
I don’t think he’ll be fighting for at least a few months and it looks as though the American girl was right. He really did fuck up.
But at least his cute butt was spared.