The Dance – Chapter 2

The constant white line from Interstate 40 reflected through the window of the Greyhound bus. Lyle watched the white line as he sat in the dark, fusty, humid, overcrowded bus. Exhaustion pulled heavily at his eyelids, but sleep would not come easily. His mind would not relent long enough for his body to surrender to its need for rest. He sat in the uncomfortable seat fighting against his feelings of remorse. Along with the occasional snores, restless movement of fellow passengers, and the hum of the six wheels against the pavement made it difficult to concede to either.
What will she think? Had he left in haste? He didn’t have time to call her. It was late. No time could be wasted. Lyle tried to rationalize all his thoughts and feelings. Looking at his watch, which was still on New York time, it’s been over 24 hours since he saw her last. She must be concerned. They have not spoken since Halloween night. He had kissed her good-night, thanked her for being part of his best birthday and drove home. When he arrived home, his parents were waiting up for him.
He stepped into the living room and sat on the couch on the opposite end of his mother. His father in his usual spot, deep brown cloth Lazy-boy recliner sat angled to the couch and console television set.
“Hey mom and dad I just wanted to thank you for a great birthday, best”
“You’re welcome son, glad you enjoyed yourself,” his mother replied.
“Let me know when you want to go look at some cars”
‘No problem, Mr. Kendell has a couple I wouldn’t mind checking out a little more, not quite sure how much he wants yet, but I will let you know, thanks, dad.
Lyle started to get up from the couch.
“Before you go can we talk?” asked his mother.
“You received a call about an hour ago. We were surprised by the women on the other end asking us to pass along a birthday wish to you”
“Who was it?”
“Barbara Cramer”
“Really, that was nice”
“We’re confused Lyle, how did she get our number?”
“I asked my biological Grandmother to call her and ask if she would contact me, I wanted to talk to her, I wanted answers, you guys don’t know.”
“Don’t you think you should have asked us if it was okay?”
“Sorry mom, I just didn’t think it through”
“I need to talk to her, I wanted to know more”
“How long have you felt this way?”
“Soon after you told me I was adopted”
“We don’t think this is a good idea right now”
“I need to know now”
“Now, isn’t the right time?”
“You need to get finish school after you graduate” his father spoke up with a stern voice.
“I can’t wait that long, I have questions” Lyle raised his voice.
“Don’t raise your voice to me young man”
“Okay, let’s calm down,” his mother said trying to get back to a calm conversation
“Can we agree to disagree on timing? Maybe for now you could talk on the phone.
“That works for me.”
His mother rose and sat next to him. She embraced Lyle in her arms.
“Son, there was nothing wrong with you, you were perfect.” “You were not a problem.”
“I just want to know more, and I would like to call her back tonight before it gets much later.”
“I understand, we love you very much just the way you are.”
His mother stepped back over to her end of the couch and put her knitting away.
“Stanley, I’m pretty tired”
His father un-reclined his chair and stood, stretched out his arms.
“Me too.”
“Love you, son,” rubbing his hair from its well-groomed positioning.
“Really dad” Lyle attempted to put his hair back in place.
Lyle sat in the silence of the dark living room asking and answering, talking about insignificant questions. When he asked personal questions, he received no real answers. She would prefer to sit down face to face, so he could truly understand the events that led to his adoption. Against his own frustration of needing the answers now, he agreed that it would be best to meet and talk in person and get to know each other. He expressed that he was getting a car and that he might be able to drive down on summer break before he headed off to college.
Lyle sat closer to the open window, wanting to inhale some fresh air. Nausea crept up from the pit of his stomach to the back of his throat. He sat motionless with his head in his hands waiting for the queasiness to subside. His somber expression made his jaw square and brooding. Lyle caught his reflection in the glass, he thought to himself. Call her, she’ll understand, she knows how important this is. Lyle raked his hands through his black hair, leaving them to rest behind his head.
He wanted to find the answers. He just wanted to know more about who he really was. After he spoke to his biological mother he lay in bed tossing and turning unable to stop the noise in his head. Too many questions, not enough answers, the thought of waiting longer made him upset and frustrated. After this conversation, he knew he couldn’t wait. He didn’t want to disobey or disappoint his parents, but he felt he had no other choice. Finally, he would have some answers, no more wondering and doubting. What was wrong with me? What did I do? What was more important than raising your young child, experiencing him growing up into a man? What could a three-year-old have done to make a mother give him up for adoption? He riffled through all his clean clothes from the laundry basket and shoved them into a duffle bag. He wrote a note telling his parents he was getting the answers he deserved, that he would be back in a week.
His thoughts were interrupted when he heard the bus driver announce the next stop was Little Rock in thirty minutes, there would be a forty-five-minute meal break and they would be headed for Dallas. He looked at his watch again. He thought it’s Monday seven a.m. she would be preparing for school. She also had music composition with Mr. Hammond at two forty-five. She would then walk to her father’s business to work. Lyle knew he needed to call her tonight. He would after he arrived at his mother’s house. He wanted and needed to explain everything to her, make sure she understood, let her know he loved her and would be back in a week, two weeks tops. He sat there thinking of how he would explain it to her. He knew it should be easy to say, but all his rehearsed explanations seemed lame. “I didn’t want to wake you. I wasn’t going to leave until I saw you in the morning, but I lay in bed tossing and turning, thinking about how I would finally meet my mother”. He knew she would understand, she always was supportive when they discussed his thoughts and feelings about his biological mother. He took care of everything else. He left a note for his parents explaining his actions, he stopped by work and taped a message to the overhead door, explaining that he had an emergency out of state that he would be back in a week or two. Lyle leaned his head back daydreaming, about what-ifs. What if she hadn’t given me away, I’d be in Texas now. I’d know my brothers and sisters. Having other siblings to play with, to share secrets, build a fort and talk about girls. Suddenly he pulled his head from the seat, his face pale, his eyebrows furrowed, and tears pulled at his eyes. He felt a loss. To not have her in his life would be unbearable and unimaginable. He rested his head in his hands, raking his hands up and down his face and running his fingers through his hair. Lyle tried to erase away the terrifying thoughts that he might not have ever met or to have loved Kay. It had been about a year ago he was knocked over by the sweet, beautiful blue-eyed, brunet, ball of fire, Kaylee Kendell. Lyle smiled as he recalled the memory.
He wanted to earn his own money, enough to buy his first car. The opportunities for a sixteen-year-old were slim. His choices were the dairy farm a mile down the road, the farmer on Yerkes Road or the service station, on Main St. In the fall and winter, the service station made the most sense, a small walk from school and back home. Now he had to convince his parents to let him get a job.
The calendar flipped a page into November, tagging along were cold brisk winds, beginning the slippery slope toward winter. Lyle just celebrated his sixteenth birthday and with his parent’s permission, he decided to talk to Mr. Kendell for a job pumping gas. He walked into the front door of Reds. The small bell overhead jiggled acknowledging a patron had arrived. Lyle stood at the counter and waited. He waited longer, and then he started to wander toward the door to the rear. The mechanic service bays were visible through the glass. Seeing only legs covered in the dark blue work pants on a wooden creeper protruding from under a car in the bay he surmised the mechanic was unable to hear he had entered the business. As he stepped to the door to announce himself, he met the wooden doorframe with his head. He was slammed to the ground.
He opened his eyes. All he could see was a bright light. Slowly a face came into focus, the angelic pale beauty that knocked him off his feet.
“Are you all right?”
“I think so, just a little confused. Is this heaven?”
“Not the heaven that I imagine”
Lyle pulled himself up and stood, putting his hand out to help the dark-haired beauty to her feet as well. She was dressed in greased stained coveralls a size too big, her hair pulled back into pigtails. Her face had smudged motor oil across her forehead.
“Would you like some ice for your head?”
“No, that’s not necessary but thank you,”
“What can I help you with?”
“Your name to start,”
“Lyle you know me. You sit behind me in English.”
“You look so different and besides most of the time, I’m looking at the back of your pretty little head.
“Obviously you have cracked your head harder than we thought. Trying to change the subject, she was not comfortable talking about herself.
“So, what brings you in here on such a beautiful afternoon?”
“Right, I wanted to ask Mr. Kendell for a job pumping gas?”
“Oh well that is usually my job,” “I know Kaylyn would be willing to give up her hours here, I just don’t know if he can afford to hire someone right now. He is out in the service bay. I will go get him, wait here and stay away from the door.”
“Oh yeah, funny,”
Kaylee walked out the door to the service bay. Lyle had no problem waiting and watching her walk away. How could someone be that gorgeous in a pair of baggy overalls and pigtails? He had been infatuated with her for the past two years. He just wasn’t quite sure how to approach her about asking her on a date. He always did his best to be in the seat behind her in whatever class they shared, which was most of them. He admired her body language that radiated a warm invitation for anyone to come up and talk to her. Her smile and eyes brightened any room she entered. Her spirit was serene and innocent, but she was no shrinking violet. Things have a way of working out. Now he was head over heels in love with Kaylee.
“Little Rock in five minutes” the driver announced.
The sudden announcement broke Lyle’s pleasant thoughts. He turned his attention to the window again and kept watching the white line along Route 40. His thoughts and anxieties drifted between New York and Texas. With the anticipation of finally meeting his mother, getting the answers, he wanted. Mixing with his desire for her head on his shoulder, and her hand cupped in his played havoc in his head. To have one he hoped he didn’t have to give up the other.