Her attention only let out the largest sigh.
“All right mom, whatever it is, I’ll just see after we visit okay?”
“It’s about Kim.” Her mom was never very tactful with her, alone.
“What about him?
“Well, are you serious with him? -I mean, you’re fifteen, don’t sell yourself short.”
She did have somewhat of a point there. Somewhere pressed deep in her mind.
“You know Rach, or Cam, should I say?” She hated that–trying to kiss her ass when it’s so obvious that that’s exactly what she’s doing…
Rachael said nothing and just stared at her.
“Well, to be perfectly honest, I got to talking to Helen at the little get together, you know, well at Helen’s…(?)”
“Well she knows a good way for young girls who want to go to school and become engineers, to get involved…”
“Oh yeah, how’s that?” Rachael implored, suspiciously. Her mom was acting like a salesman. Like she always did upon discovering something she wants that requires bending the will of other people.
“There’s a group that meets on Saturdays every other week and discusses issues and, it’s a club really…”
“Huh, okay I’ll have to know more about it, you know I don’t like the word ‘Club’…”
“I mean, do you really see yourself staying with him?”
Pam just couldn’t resist…It hadn’t even been on-subject. She let it pass.
There was a long pause between them as one black screen after another went by like the broken lines of a highway.
“Only to the death,” she answered her, finally, coming down yet another long silent corridor.
She’d really meant it, about Kim, but her mom had no frame of reference to take words like that seriously, pretty much, ever. As far as she was concerned, people stay with each other out of the bottom line. Everything else, just proceeds from there on out. She wasn’t aware of this in so many words, if at all though.
“Now, honey, no need to be extreme about it, I–”
“I don’t need your cultural nonsense either…’Extreme,’ what does that mean exactly?”
“Whatever Rachael, I just really think you could benefit from knowing or even being friends with this guy that Helen knows, that’s all…”
The fake wooden door opened.
Like the hallway there was no sound. Her Nana could be seen lying on her side of the small room as if there were to be a viewing soon. Her Grandfather, or ‘The Colonel,’ was on the other side, on his own Twin bed, sleeping as well.
“Ok, well, we will…we won’t wake them up until they start making sounds.”
Rachael rolled her eyes and said to her mom, whispering– “Where are we going to sit?”
“We’ll we’re just gonna have to stand for a bit Rach.”
Pam could hear the futility in her daughter’s faint sigh erupt and dissipate. She could get used to feeling that way, she really could…
“Ugh, mom, okay, fine…”
After a while, when her mom got up to use the restroom, Rachael went over and poked at her Nana’s bed, finally after long deliberation. It jostled far more radically than she’d anticipated.
It was the high pitched voice of her Nana. Rachael came over to her side and Nana merely pivoted slightly in her direction, but as if to be merely in ‘motion-detector’ mode. Her eyes and limbs still seemed to be recoiling from having been set back in motion.
“Who’s there?” she inquired, peeling the lids of her eyes open with her small brittle fingers. She continued rubbing her eye cavities with tiny crumpled fists that in the small soft yellow light behind her head, could appear as sepia x-rays of her Thyn little finger bones.
“It’s your granddaughter, Rachael, Nana.” She was speaking a little bit loud, just so she’d be sure to be perhaps loud enough while not upsetting her skull-driven hearing system.
“Ooooooohhhhhhhhh okkkaaayyyyy. How are you?”
Her speech was loud, pithy, and slow. And had a way of revving itself up, she could remember…She also remembered coming there twice and sometimes a third time throughout each year after she stopped living with Nana for the last time. She knew Nana could be pretty senile, but almost exclusively upon waking up or going to bed. It was strange.
“Nana, are you okay?”
“Oh, well hellooooh there!”
“Nana, I’m right here…”
I know, I’ll ask her a specific question, like the Loquanda girl from the Mall…
“Nana, are you at Durago Pines?”
“Yep.” It was as if she’d said nothing, Nana was even falling back asleep, a tad.
She’s not identifying it, cause it’s not outside her context, that’s it!
“Nana, do you remember going with me and mom at La Chateau de Nombres? Rachael spoke and understood a great deal of French, and had from a very young age, just like German and Spanish. She used to talk to her Grandfather, who spoke it fluently, in near fluent French all the time. She also had had a few Frankish school friends there a while back. One of them was black, and kinda ghettie, so that didn’t last. The only one left was Linda, and she spoke French, but only when it impressed people or got her way somehow.
After a while, Nana spoke.
“Yes, of course, I remember that very well…” She sounded to be bounding with triumph.
Her days…what can they be? They must be alllll the same…
She saw her Nana wake. She picked up the plastic little cup of water, tilted it toward her mouth after slowly sitting up. There was no joy in it, only doing it.
A revelation then came to her.
If life can only be life with a purpose, then every moment we are doing the exact same thing, and not combining it with things that are different and purposeful, are moments or days spent without life, and therefore, wasted.
After everyone awoke, a brew of good feeling conversation turned the room into family again.
Shortly thereafter, they decide they’re hungry, and the Colonel needed to take certain pills with Nana that required food. After paying her Grampy the proper lip service, they all headed off in Grampa’s commodious silver Tray Car. The Buffalow Grill, was a Franco-German popular restaurant at the Camp, and also the closest by car, on-compound.
A tall black stallion with a pair of outstretched hooves snarled down at them. A sign above, read – The Crrraaazzzzy 8’ (Foot) Horse of Ol’ Teller McJoe. It was a big ol’ plastic horse, right there in front of the restaurante.
“So where’s Teller McJoe?” said her mom, trying to lighten the mood.
No one responded.
Not even the air.
Firey eyes and a wicked smile loomed above them still. The parking lot was empty, and everyone heard the wind whistle a little louder. The silver hover car was parked in the back row of the lot, for some reason Rachael was trying to comprehend. She made a bet with herself if she could figure it out before picking a winning glob of earwax.
She simply smeared it on her shoe.
The Eurasian or ‘Euroden’ design team must have overlooked American people when they considered their target audience. A firey demon horse as not only their mascot, but the greeter and the Maitre D rolled into one, was not exactly what mainstream Americans could find quaint in those days…especially old people.
I guess they figure that beggars can’t be choosers in a way, even though they’re paying for it–they RELY on the very people who choose to feed them, or not…
They hadn’t considered that American fairy tales, after all, didn’t feature major ‘good guy’ characters as anywhere near hanging themselves from a tree or stabbing their sister in the gut to suck out her blood, etc.–like the good old medieval European myths had for centuries.
“Vous pourrais mangent dans Le-BG!” The oversized looming monster horse said with what Camille could detect might be somehow faintly familiar… It was a Country-Western accent with a little cajun in it, it seemed…
Of course, it’s a Euro-Country style…
Though even Rachael only knew this idea through Networks and magazines.
The plasticky rattling horse voice then repeated the boiler plate line, in Spanish, Ethiopian, English and German.
“You can come and eat at the BG!”
Rachael looked at her shoes. The line still struck her as kind of odd, even for a restaurante like this.
The family then entered the dark lit establishment of off-period 19th century lanterns, (Pirates!) red pleathery booths looking to be somewhere circa 1950, with stick-on brass trim. Oaky polished tables featured interactive maps of the ‘Bad Lands,‘ while an array of picture framed photos surrounded the table of each booth with random celebrities. At least they were all American as far as Rachael and them could see.
Right in front of where her granddad sat down, was a picture of Ronald Reagan in a cowboy hat. Rachael was eying the faintly present Limo in the way back, waiting there with what could be a camera Crew.
Incessant ‘Hoo-tee-Hooing’ or ‘Cowboy Music’ to the Germans, could not be stopped from all pores of what was looking more like an eating hall than a restaurante. Not one of the songs was really American. This was a different kind of German that designed a chain like this, not native USC German, but from the mainland of Europe, German.
“Awwwweeeeeehooooo!” The battle cry from the animatronic of Gen. R. E. Lee, sounded more like “Aloha,” to them.