Thursday, August 7, 2014

Part 28



"So much for making it through Rockford," Jace snapped while he threw the tire iron back into the truck.

I kept my mouth shut.  I could literally see the steam coming off his skin where the hot sweat met the cool afternoon air; and, his eyes looked a whole lot like they had that first day I'd accidentally entered his world.

Jace snarled, "Get in the truck."

I got in the truck but hid my screwdriver within easy reach.  Something  very, very wrong was going on in Jace's head.  Doc might have called it something like PTSD.  I'm not sure.  He said a lot of people in the city were suffering from it because of the "mental and physical trauma and deprevations" we were all dealing with.  Moses just called it getting crazy.  Having the crazies isn't necessarily a deal breaker as far as getting a lift from Jace to where I want to go but it definitely makes me more careful.  So long as what he says and what he does mostly mesh we'll be fine even if he gets a little crazy.  But when he starts saying one thing and doing another I'm going to move on all on my lonesome and he can go take his crazies some place else.

Besides I don't even think Dad would have been happy to have had to change three tires in one day.  The first two were on the truck and we had them.  Jace drives me nuts saying things like, "Two is one and one is none."  But I think I'm beginning to be a believer.  What that means according to Jace is "redundancy is key to survival."  In other words, not just having one extra of something but having several extras of everything.  Hmmm.  Don't know if I would go that far but it sure doesn't look like it hurts any at all.

The third tire was on the trailer and we had to plug and refill that one with that canned foam junk but to do it we had to take it off which was so not fun.  Jace wasn't the only one with wracked knuckles that time.

We finally got to a place where we could pull off the interstate, called Hwy 38, and tried to get some rest.  Before we went to sleep Jace insisted on "discussing the day's progress."

He started, "Look, about earlier ..."

"Forget it.  You cracked your knuckles a couple of times.  Guys don't like that kind of stuff," I told him trying to distance myself from him.  Sherry had warned me about guys that apologize all the time.  If they were really sorry she said, they wouldn't have to apologize more than once or twice instead of going back and doing the same thing over and over.

He gave me a searching look but I refused to look back.  "You don't believe me do you," he said.  Problem was his tone said his feelings were more hurt about me not believing him than they were about how he'd acted in the first place to get me that way.

I shrugged.  "I don't know you.  How should I know whether you act like this all the time or just when you get stressed out?  How do I know your apology is worth anything?"

"That's harsh."

I shrugged again.  "So's life."

He looked like he wanted to get mad but then he shrugged his own shoulders.  "True.  And that's what we need to talk about."

"Lesson time?"

"Yes and no.  Let's call this preschool and see how fast you graduate."

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