Miedo 3: Fragments of Fear
New Beginnings continued
When George and Katie arrived, I immediately asked after Mike because I was under the impression we would all be going together.
“There’s been a change in plans.” responded George while raising his white bushy eyebrows that perfectly matched his white bushy hair. “He has to be at work later this afternoon and decided to eat somewhere close by.”
“He likes to take his time.” added Ellen. I looked at her nonplussed. “You’ll understand later on.” she quipped.
“Are you coming Nammie?” I asked. “Ooh no, I don’t go to them there places with these tired ol’ knees.” she said smiling. “I’m happy to sit with the TV and nibble on this ‘ere cornbread!”
“Ma, you’re gonna ruin his app’tite.” said Katie.
“Poo, boy’s still a grow’n! Why just look at ‘im; skinny as a twig!”
“Er, I’ll try a little bite.” I interjected smiling.
The cornbread was so dry and crumbly it had me sputtering. I had to down a glass of water to swallow it and keep from choking.
“She probably had it sitting out since last night…” Ellen was cut off by George clearing his throat followed by, “If we’re all done…” His eyebrows raised higher than ever.
We were on the road for what seemed like hours to me because my stomach was rumbling. It was probably nearer to an hour. We stopped in the middle of nowhere with nothing but dry land filled with brush and not too many trees until we arrived at one of the largest restaurants I’d ever seen. It was a beautiful building decorated in a mixture of reds and greens with the name, Applebee’s on overheads that could be seen both to the front and rear of the structure.
As we entered through the double doors, we were greeted by a woman dressed as a cowgirl with a red suede skirt, busty blouse, scarf, and holster complete with gun replica. I whispered to Ellen, “That isn’t a real gun is it?” She laughed, saying, “No!” Thank God for small mercies; my sanity would stay intact a while longer. The cowgirl led us to a table and left us to get settled. Another cowgirl came to take our order. As I looked around, I noticed several of them waiting on different tables all dressed in a mixture of red, white and green. They were absolutely stunning. Luckily there was a menu to tend to, so my mind didn’t take a little wander.
Food-wise, I choose some bread-stick thingy’s with a creamy chive and onion type dip I’d never had before. I decided on something I felt sure would be perfectly safe for the main course; a roast chicken meal. I wasn’t sure about a drink so George recommended sarsaparilla which I’d heard of only in movies… Wow, first cowgirls with guns, now sarsaparilla! The fantasy world began to materialise… No, stop it! Take a deep breath, and remember you’re with company.
I looked up from my drink to see my kind hosts watching me expectantly. I had never tasted anything like the drink I was holding and I absolutely loved it. “Wow, it’s brilliant!” I said to them. George chuckled. “I told you he’d love it guys!” declared, Ellen triumphantly.
The main course was the largest meal I’d ever had; it came served on a platter the size of a tray to me. A full half of roast chicken came complete with some vegetables and spices I didn’t even know existed, and superb gravy. The whole meal was thoroughly delicious – A far cry from dry cornbread and grits!
We were in the middle of our main courses when George stated that he would be pre-occupied for the next couple of days in preparation for a business trip to Mexico. This apparently meant that he wouldn’t be coming home at all for quite a while. The atmosphere around the table immediately changed. “How long’s it gonna be for this time?” Asked Katie.
“A couple of weeks. I’m driving down there.”
“So we’re looking at more like three then.” responded Katie in what was a statement rather than a question.
“You’re driving to Mexico?” I asked in awe, completely unaware of what was going on between the lines. I didn’t have a clue how far Mexico was or that one could even drive there from Kentucky back then.
“Sure, it’s over two thousand miles away so I’ll be on the road most the time. Fancy coming?” He said in an attempt to lighten the conversation.
I didn’t get a chance to answer. “You can’t be serious! Kevin just got here and I have plans. I’ve arranged for him to meet my friends at WKU and we’re having a barbecue in the park next week! He could not possibly go with you on this trip. Besides he doesn’t even have his green card yet. What if he can’t get back in?” We’ve hardly had any time together at all with my classes and working at the radio station!” Ellen worked part-time for the WKU radio station as a DJ in between classes and studying and she was really proud of her role.
“Okay, okay, calm down, Ellen…“
“I am calm!” She interjected, pouting.
“Look, he can start working for me when I get back. That should give him enough time to meet your friends and get acquainted with other things.”
“What about money? We can’t survive on what I make at the radio station while you’re off galavanting around Mexico for god knows how many weeks – especially without a car!”
George’s eyebrows shot up at this and he was about to say something again when Katie cut in.
“In all fairness, George. Ellen has a point, and I don’t get paid from the library until the end of the month so I can’t give her anything.” Katie had a degree in library science and worked in the Bowling Green public library as a professional book mender.
“Alright, alright!” He said, while signing for them to calm down with his hands. “I’ll give you some money before I go, to tie you over until I get back. Now can we get back to our dinners?”
The atmosphere changed again and the trip to Mexico conversation was quickly forgotten as Ellen dominated the rest of the table-talk disclosing the plans she had made for us which included a tour of the WKU campus, meeting up with some of her friends, going to church, and visiting Katie at the public library for a tour, and to witness her magic with broken/torn books. This was to be followed by a barbecue in Lampkin park the following week.
For dessert, I stayed on the safe side again and ordered homemade apple pie with ice-cream. I’d only ever had apple pie with custard before and it was one of my favourites. Having it with ice-cream was another completely new experience. The fusing of hot apple pie with cold ice-cream is out of this world… I was in love.
Life is going to be great over here!
I do hope you enjoyed this second part of chapter two and appreciate any comments and suggestions to things that could be improved. If you have missed the first three episodes, you can find them on my Miedo page. Thanks again for all your support.