Thursday, November 09, 2006
Into the Mountain 1.3 - Sara's Dad
<< read 1.2 || read 1.4 >>
Around 4:30 I gave up on finding Ruben.
My backpack was heavy on my shoulders, and sweat dripped down different parts of my body. I needed to be home by 5:30 just in case dinner was early. Once in middle school, I missed dinner because I stayed after school for a junior honor society meeting. The dishes were still on the table when I walked into the kitchen, but there was no food left. My dad had already stretched out on the couch with three empty cans of beer on the floor and my mom sitting on his lap. He was still living with us then. I remember grabbing some crackers and eating in my bedroom with Victoria. Or something. There are worse punishments.
So I started the walk home. Pass two blocks of strip-malls, turn left at Bubbie’s Gas, cut through the municipal golf course, and cross the street to Jim’s restaurant. Our apartment is the next block.
I don’t know how far the walk is in terms of miles or anything. I guess it is about two miles. Just a little too short to bother with the buses. During the winter I am always thankful that I don’t live in Ohio or Illinois. Or in the mountains. South Texas never gets much below fifty degrees. One or two days a year, I bundle up with two layers of jeans and three shirts under my jacket. When the weather is really bad, Tori and I endure the disgrace of riding the bus. But the weather is usually nice. Or at least tolerable. Like most of my life.
Some guy was filling up his red sports car at Bubbie’s, the little mom and dad gas station where I buy worms on Saturday. He smiled at me from behind his sunglasses. One of his hands was on the gas pump and the other was in his pocket. I was thinking to myself “Should I wave back or something?” when I realized the guy was my dad.
“Where did you get that red car?” I asked even though I wasn’t supposed to talk to him.
“Come on over and check it out,” he said.
I was suspicious, but we were in full view of the street and the golfers. So I walked over to the pump.
“It’s nice,” I said. I wondered if it was stolen. He couldn’t have bought it, and he didn’t have any friends.
He leaned in close and asked, “Hey, want to go for a ride?”