Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Part 50

I already knew how to start the truck up.  Toddie had let me start Dad's truck up a few times.  He wasn't doing it to be cool to his little sister, he did it to annoy Dad only I didn't realize I was being used as a tool at the time.  Toddie could be real stupid and once Mom explained what was going on - because of course Dad wouldn't because he knew I thought it was a big deal - I stopped letting Toddie use me.

I swear, the way I talk about my brother you'd think he was a complete jerk and that he wasn't worth much at all.  That's not true.  He was just different, or maybe he wasn't.  He was the only brother I had so I don't have anyone else to measure him by in that respect.

Most of what he did in life came so easy to him that it was like he had to make other parts of his life harder than they needed to be to make up the difference.  Toddie wasn't all bad.  Last time he came home for Christmas he brought me this really pretty t-shirt from his college.  It was one in the latest style and I knew it must have cost more than we had agreed to spend on each other.  I loved that stupid shirt and that afternoon I put it on, shoved my new earbuds in my ear so I could listen to the kind of music that drove my parents nuts without upsetting them too much and went down the street to show both gifts to my friend Christy Montgomery.  Coming back I was walking down the sidewalk, earbuds still firmly cramed in my ears, and when I got closer to the house I waved at Dad and Toddie who were outside throwing a baseball around and generally not having a fight for the first time in a long time.

Suddenly both Dad and Toddie start running at me and I didn't have any time to think how strange that was when I feel a really hard bump that sent me face first into a snow drift in Mrs. Cridlebaugh's bushes.  I still didn't know what happened enough though my buds had fallen out in lfight and suddenly Toddie and Dad were there making too much noise to be understood.  A lot of other people that had been outside their houses were screaming and yelling too.  Then Toddie dropped me back in Dad's arms and I watched him climb the hood of a car that was sitting where I had just been walking and he pulled Bart Schwartz out through the window and was beating the snot out of him.  It took Dad and three of the other neighborhood men to pull him off.  Bart used to be one of Toddie's best friends in highschool until he started hanging out with people even Toddie thought were too wild.  Bart had been doping up and the only thing that saved me was that the spin he went into on the icy road slowed him down enough that he barely grazed me.  See, that's what I mean ... Toddie could be difficult and kinda too smart for his own good but I think he was still a half way decent brother.  And maybe he would have grown out of all the bad stuff if he'd just had the chance.  But I guess we never know when the last chance we've been given is the last chance we'll ever have.

Geez ... memories.  I don't know whether it sucks to pull them out and look at them or whether it is helping.  I know it hurts but I'm starting to remember some of the good stuff too.  Like that stupid learning to start the car thing.  But however I learned to do it, I learned and I guess in the end for whatever reason the episodes served their purpose.

Coming back to the present ... or at least what was the present back then ... I started the truck up, moved it from P to D and slowly pulled out of the parking lot.  It took me a couple of miles to figure out why it felt like I was being pushed and pulled all over the road despite there not being any wind ... it was the trailer.  I kept driving but it was a long time before I stopped over compensating.

I was concentrating so hard that I missed the turn off to the campground and had to go down the road a piece to find some where I could turn around.  Driving the forest road was nerve wracking.  I bounced and got turned around twice but finally I made it to Singing Waters ... only there was a chain across the entrance road.  And three men standing there with rifles.  I remember my guts suddenly feeling like they were full of water.  I had known it was possible but I'd never really planned for it.  I'd thought Jace would be there with me ... only he wasn't ... and I was left facing a very uncertain future.

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