Arts & Culture, Featured

A Soldier’s Search- Chapter 3

We Meet Again…

3

I gazed up at the sky as I searched in the darkness for a single glimmer of a star.

Since the lights around me were so bright, I couldn’t see anything but an empty, foggy space whose darkness swallowed the Earth. I was tired. So, very tired. For the whole week, I worked nonstop from nine to five. In all reality, though, it felt as if I worked from five in the morning to nine at night at the Chronicle.  

After staying with Katherine for near half the performance, I finally had enough.

“Katherine.” 

Kat kept her entire attention enclosed on the events taking place before her, almost ignoring my presence. The popularly known sport of roping was in the works and Katherine didn’t let anything distract her from spectating its delights.

“Katherine!”

“Yeah,” she finally answered in a slightly distracted tone.

I exhaled, releasing my slight fury of my friend’s oblivion, “Thank you so much for inviting… I mean, uh, bringing me to the rodeo with you. I appreciate you thinking of me.” Katherine failed to make eye contact with me at all, she just nodded her head in a sort of acknowledgment.

Clearing my throat, I continued, “With that being said, I have to head back home to tuck Little Lucy into bed. I have to be home before nine, you know.”

Chewing her popcorn and not even saying a word, she nodded her head… again.

“So, I’m leaving…right now.”

Another nod of the head, no exchange of glances, nor even an utter of a dull sound.

Standing from my seat and straightening my shoulders, I walked away. No one noticed me as I raced down the stairs, each step a stride faster than the last. Jogging along the dewy blades of the grass, I stared blankly at my watch: 7:48.

The parking lot was completely full, but there was no sign of life among the plethora of automobiles. I reached the sidewalk, the fog swallowing the road in front of me. Yearning to see headlights from a cab, I squinted my eyes. But there was nothing, no one.

I sat down upon the concrete slab and waited. And waited. And waited. Soon my eyelids grew heavier and heavier.

My head drifted downwards, and there was nothing I could do to prevent myself from falling asleep.

***

After what seemed like only minutes, I awoke. I rechecked my watch: 8:21.

“Oh, my goodness! Has it really been that long?” I shouted.

I looked up, still no taxis. Groaning, I stood upon my feet and began to walk alongside the road. If no one was going to come to find me, I had to go find them… that meant hitchhiking.

Within only a few minutes of walking, I heard the roar of a motor emerging from the darkness. As I turned around, the crunching sound of tires hitting the gravel became louder and louder. Soon, the headlights of a new, blue Ford truck come into view. I could have almost leaped in the air or danced around the street lamps! My face burned with excitement revealing the thrill of being rescued from a terrible fate.

But my heart sank, and my hands grew sweaty. The hairs on my neck stiffened as I looked through the window to see my hero: the cowboy. Yes, the very same cowboy whose horse accidentally threw him into the audience onto me. The very same being who embarrassed me in front of hundreds of spectators…I hated him.

I ground my teeth as I watched the young man park his vehicle beside me. I stared angrily into his eyes as he spoke, “Howdy ma’am! Looks like you could use a ride.”

I turned my back to him huffing, “The very idea of trying to convince me to ride with you. YOU of all people!”

“Look, ma’am, what happened in that rodeo arena wasn’t my fault,” he continued politely.

“Oh really! Well then, would you please care to explain why you didn’t have better control of your horse?” I snapped. He laughed uproariously. I scorned, “What’s so funny?”

“Listen here. All I’m trying to do is give you a nice ride home, and I’m genuinely sorry for the mess that I made tonight.”

“I don’t need a ride, thank you very much,” I began to walk away.

“Alright, suit yourself,” he drove away.

I stared longingly after him as he surged past me. My feet ached, and I had waited almost all night for a cab. Well, he wasn’t exactly what I had pictured as a taxi driver, but I would at least get home around nine to put Lucy to bed.

I waved my hands in the air calling out to the cowboy, “Wait, please stop!”

I heard the brakes screech as he began to put the truck in reverse backing it up to my side. Once he was right beside me, I confessed, “Look, I’m sorry. I’ve just had a rough day, and I know that what happened tonight wasn’t your fault at all. I appreciate you wanting to help me out. Just keep in mind that I’m only letting you take me because I’m sick of waiting for another car.”

He sighed, a smile surging across his face. Quickly, he opened the passenger-side door waiting for me to climb in. I hesitated as the thoughts in my head began to whirl about. I didn’t know this man. Was he safe? Did he really seem honest?

I thought of a million reasons to refuse his offer, but I looked inside the truck. A Bible was propped up against the window.

My mind still was on a roll, but my heart seemed to relax as I looked closer at the ancient book. It reminded me of my childhood. I recalled my old church, Sunday school, and good memories. I couldn’t remember the last time I picked up my Bible. It probably was on my desk at home full of dust particles. I couldn’t explain why I did it nor how I persuaded myself to do it, but with a sure step, I climbed inside the Ford as the young cowboy began to press on the gas pedal.

The image is of a 1941 Ford truck, and the picture was located through Mecum Auctions.

6 Comments

  1. I can’t wait for the next chapter!!!

  2. This is really good! I love how you are showing us more about the main character over time. Good job!

  3. I am excited to hear about what comes next! Great job Allora!

  4. Thank you so much Corrie Anna!