Holding Eric part 17
Eric felt himself becoming confused to the roads leading back to the truck stop, looking back and forth trying to place every building knowing one of theses’ roads would lead him back, it was a long walk back being scared and starting to sweat walking from the dumpster looking across the street at a day care not knowing what way to go Eric wanting to scream for help, but the eerie feeling which seemed to have possession over his emotions would not allow it only a tightness starting to cry, hurrying seeing a man just up the street hurry to reach him.
“Hello’ Hello” reaching him out of breath, tears down his cheeks wiping them off, as the man stopped looking down at him reach over touching his shoulder bending down.
“You ok what happen?”
“Some guy in a green car just tried to pick me up”
“When just now?” Looking down the road not seeing any cars
“Yea by the day care back there’ I marked the plate number by the dumpster”
“Maybe you should call the police”
“I would but I don’t see any phones around you have one?”
“No Sorry’ look I’ll phone them maybe you better come with me?”
“No I got to get back to the truck stop’ I got side tracked somehow from it”
“You sure the only trucks stop is down the street just under the thruway”
“So I’m not far from it then”
“It’s a walk you sure you don’t want to come with me”
“I’ll be fine now what street is this?”
“19th Street you need to turn on East Grand to the truck stop”
“Ok that way right”
“Yes just thru the underpass you really should get to a phone as soon as possible”
“I will thanks”
Hurrying down the street looking behind him every so offend with traffic heavy making sure it wasn’t the same car, staying on the sidewalk spotting the overpass walking a little faster only looking over at a tire shop, seeing the on ramp and a few trucks waiting at the light to get on hurry crossing the street stopping under the overpass embankment making sure the dirt was off his pants relived, walking down to the end of the street it wasn’t the same truck stop but it was a truck stop seeing the trucks parked in the lot.
Across the street pass the fuel pumps going to the door, Three persons coming out the last holding the door for Eric, hot and sweaty, headed inside seeing it was a travel store with only a quick meal and booths. Heading right for the washroom, into the cubicle seating down cradling his face to his knees, trying to control his tears, wanting to hold his mother again in his arms knowing he couldn’t anymore was just now hitting him even more, that feeling of being all alone with no place to go, no one could help him now his only hope was to get to Texas even that was unsure what would happen.
Controlling his feelings opening the door walking out looking at the sink, moving to the second one washing his face and hands off, two men came in and left before Eric finished washing his face and hands combing his hair back and placing his cap on return looking around the travel store radios and gloves on the shelves, looking up seeing two pay phones not far from the restaurant, hurry over checking seeing how much change he had looking at two quarters, picking up the receiver looking at the information hitting 911.
“Hello what’s your emergency?”
“Hello can you talk?”
In a low voice looking around him “Yes it was this guy tried to get me in his car”
“Where are you now? … What is your name?”
“Look I’m ok now’ the Building number is 4560 near the dumpster on 19th street just down from the big water tower in the middle of the road”
“What’s the location of the person that trying to get you?”
“The plate number of the car” pausing as his expression dropped checking around him
“The car what type was it?”
“Look I can’t stay on the phone it green two door he tried to get me!” Eric lifted his head and peered up towards the ceiling tiles, his chin began to tremble fearing someone was watching him, eyes moving back and forth seeing only the cashier and doorway of more person’s coming in.
“What did he look like?”
“I don’t know!,4560 on the building just across from some day care’ his plate was out of state Ill … something … I …I Got to go” Hanging up the phone looking around making sure no one heard him, only see one guy looking at DVD tapes.
Disappointed in himself for even making the call now slowly walking to the restaurant area looking around the yellow booths, Hungry and thirsty looking around for any truck drivers seeing a few families together and three other men together talking, then spotted one guy who looked like a trucker just coming in standing at the counter, Eric quickly walked up standing next to him looking what they had.
“You a truck driver” Eric asked looking up at him”
He looked down “sure and you”
“Not yet’ food looks good ok if I sit with you or you waiting for someone?”
“I don’t like eating by myself”
“Sure its ok don’t mind the company”
“I’ll buy your lunch for you”
“I can pay for my own” taking his sandwich going over sitting down, Eric ordered a sandwich and soda taking them over, the driver waved his hand to the open booth scooting in across form him
He just nodded taking a big bite, Eric trying not to look at him without staring seeing his tired sun wrinkles above his cheeks seemed to blend in with the rest of him, brownish gray goat tee and worn Red ball cap, tattered jean jacket with wool around the collar from many years of wearing them in pride.
“So you have a name?” truck driver asking
Eric quickly looking back “Eric” holding out his hand to him, He looked up and reach over shaking his hand “Well hello Eric the Names Glenn” Eric with a nod and smile, back after taking a big bite.
The two sat talking for a short while over there meal, Eric said he was still going to visit The gateway to the west and the Museum they had near it, he was supposed to go with his friends only forgetting to set his alarm clock, sleeping late after staying up watching television, right into telling him the bus runs right along the highway and he had to switch getting a few other busses, but he would get there after a few hours so that wouldn’t’ t be too bad, giving his sad looking face wiping his mouth off of mayo’ then right back, that he find his friends and maybe still have time to see some more sights before they headed back.
Glenn was able to get a word or two in asking if they were expecting him to show, Eric of course said they were he was told to meet them at the gateway lobby so they could page them when he arrived, Then Eric started laying it on Glen getting his full interest about what was like at the Gateway looking out over the highway watching all the cars and telling him you could see for miles around it was huge you could even take and elevator if you didn’t want to walk. letting him talk as he finished off his Sandwich, only taking a break from Eric to refill there cups, As soon as Glen sat down sipping on his soda Eric telling Glenn the busses were running about every hour and he still had a sometime before he had to go, Glenn smiled at him “Look Eric I can give you a ride how would that be?”
“What ‘well I don’t think were strangers anymore so ok”
“You about ready them?”
“Sure you need to check with a dispatcher or someone first?”
“No were good you can take it with you” Glenn said after seeing him trying to finish his soda fast watering his eyes being so cold.
Glenn waited for him to clear the table taking the trash to the waste can before the two head outside holding there sodas, stopping at the door Eric spotted two Police cars just outside, Glenn open the door for Eric letting him go first, Eric quickly tilted is head down dropping his hat, Glenn reach down picking it up as one policeman looked over only back to what he was doing as Glenn placed his hat back on walking past the pumps to the trucks park in a row, Glenn stopping at a Red Peterbuilt open the side door pulling out a small club starting to walk down to the tires, Eric following close behind.
“Watch the bounce right if it Thuds it flat right?”
Glenn looked back smiling “Yes that right’ why don’t you go ahead and get in”
“Ok is it unlocked?”
Glenn just nodded back yes checking along the rear.
“Nice Truck” Eric smiled with pride looking at the name plate walking around the front checking the headlights and tall CB Antenna’s with amber lights string around them to the top., getting in the passenger side like it was old times setting his drink in the tray looking above the visor for the log book, Glenn open the door getting in, setting his drink in the open slot checking out the window.
“You have to mark it in your log?” Eric asking buckling his seatbelt still looking around the inside
“It will be just a second and yes” Glenn watching the Police men talking to each other outside next to the patrol cars, reaching down pulling Log book out from the panel next to him.
“Don’t most truck drivers place it over the visor” smelling the in-scent hanging on the dash looking at it
“I like it in the pocket here” flipping the pages around only glancing up a few times to what they were doing, filling out his log, holding it watching one car pulling out going down the street.
Eric looking down at the panel below the drink tray, then at the gauges finding them newer
“So this is a newer unit?”
“Just a few years old, better than the last one they gave me”
“They gave it to you? Excided with a big smile
“Sure it mine as long as I’m with the company”
“Oh’ you ever going to get your own rig?” watching the dash light switched from green to amber
“Someday’ ready to roll”
Eric nodded watching the truck ahead pulling in to the fuel area giving them room to leave, pulling out heading down the line of trucks to the exit, shifting making it bounce a few times heading down the street shifting between the slowing cars towards the expressway ramp.
“Why’d it bounce?” asked in curiosity.
“It’s a little over loaded but were good” watching his mirrors staying in the center lane.
“Did you ever hear the song Running Bear by Johnny Preston?”
“On the banks stood Runny bear on the other side of the river sat, Little white dove Runny Bear”
“Yea that the one I like that old tone don’t you?’
“Yes it’s a sad song did you know that the water drown them”
“Huh’ It Did?” Eric became puzzled, and strangely interested
“You just here Running bear as the tone pulls you in’ you don’t hear the whole song next time you hear it follow the words ok”
“No just to a better place” Glenn smiling over
“You must listen to a lot of them riding all day?”
“Years’ at the time songs meet something to everyone”
“They don’t anymore we follow them’ maybe it’s just like you said”
“We sing along’ you sing a long so it moves us right Eric?”
“Yea it does”
“Not much More Look” Glenn pointing to the arches changing lanes.
Getting off the ramp looking at the road construction slowly pulling out wide to avoid the cones setup following the signs to the parking lot area pulling over to the side out of the way of traffic looking upward at the arch. “Wow it is kind’a big” Glenn said amazed
“What to go in and see around I’ll show you it’s great” With a big knot in his thought trying to smile looking at it so high himself, keeping his cool not to show it was scary.
“No maybe another time you have a good time and enjoy yourself”
“Yea sure’ Thanks for the ride’ hey you got a card or something?” leaning back over the seat
“Yea maybe my dad can help you someday”
“Here it’s the company’s my phone numbers on the bottom tell you dad I gave you a ride ok”
“Sure I’ll tell him and how nice you were and well Thanks again” Holding out his hand shaking it before climbing down, closing the door looking up at the window hearing the gear shift slowly pulling out in to the lane, Eric waving while he drove off sadden that he was leaving, Eric was just getting to like him, waited for the traffic before crossing the street walking towards the arch, head raised tilted so the sun blocked some by his cap rim, still it glowing back its reflection off the arch.
Eric experiencing everything around him letting it soak in walking around checking out the benches and trees mostly seeing others reaction almost the same for the first time seeing anything so big, looking at the door way leading inside, Eric decided not to go fearing he would get sick from the heights so far up, last thing he wanted to draw any more attention to himself, Posters showing the theatre walking closer among the family’s excided going inside already, spotting a pamphlet on the ground picking it up showing the Arch way and Museum of the Westword Expansion, Nature History of the west and even a movie show, gift shop and a small snack bar. Wanting more than anything to go inside holding back afraid of the heights looking in the window trying to see if it was on the same floor not in the Arch someplace.
Flipping it to the backside not finding anything about how much it cost decided to following along with a family with two young girls around his age and a younger brother holding their hands walking together, Eric stayed right behind them hoping to get inside without paying, finding out it was free to the public was a relief to find relaxing more, slowing walking along with the crowed keeping up with the same family experiencing everything for the first time together looking at all the murals and exhibit’s. It was strange to Eric seeing someone’s reaction to almost feeling like you were travelling back in time, enjoying each one explaining how they traveled in the wagons heading westward, stopping at the River boats on the Mississippi to St. Louis down the river just as Tom Sawyer did, while the girls giggled and smiled looking at Eric reading more of the western adventure, talking a few times with the girls as they walked along Cindy and Beth were their names with little brother Clifford, stopping at the tables near the gift shop in the front area, Eric was asked to join them by Cindy finding him attractive while they waited on their parents before going in to the theater to see the movie.
Eric agreed asking where they were from after Clifford asked for orange pop to drink, finding it strange asking what is pop, Beth said he sounded strange also saying they were from Michigan and Soda there is called Pop!. Smiling back after she said he also talked funny’ Eric telling them he was from Rhode Island and had picked up some of Maine’s way of talking also, they laughed and had a good time sitting waiting finishing off the sodas and pop’s till their parents showed up, only saying Hello and moving quickly to the line where Everyone had already started gathering around lining up at the doors, getting in line together Eric staying along Cindy while Beth and Clifford carrying on about what they seen shuffled their feet against the carpeting going in finding seats not far from the door, Eric sat on the end only having to scooting in two seats sitting next to Cindy waiting in silence waiting for the movie to start, everyone inside as the lights faded and the curtains were drawn and finely silence in the room as the music started.
Lights slowly came back on as the movie faded outward and gray till everything was bright inside showing the exit doors open same ones they entered, walking out standing at the gift shop window as they went inside only waving to Cindy and Beth as they headed inside, Watching from the window seeing them looking at the Indian dresses apparel with lots of beads, the feeling was a hard and sad Eric walked away heading outside but not before getting another Orange pop, looking to the Arch walking to an empty bench sitting down having a nice view to the river, almost seeing Tom and Huck on a raft following it down stream’ frowning at the river holding his cold soda can knowing time never changed the river, but only the people around it.
Eric looked at the river feeling the chill breezes shifting his arm upward over the backside, watching the people walking around it was something he missed being a family knowing he lost everything wishing he could end all the pain and misery that made up his life wishing that it would change and be back the way they were as a family, looking sideways to the Arch only seeing more families enjoying themselves, changing his look crunching the can in his hand tossing it to the trash can watching it fly right in getting up from the bench, this was not the place to be it Eric started walking down the street towards town not even caring anymore just like his parents didn’t care always fought with each other, always forgot about his birthday even last year, so confused and scared trying not to cry walking faster down the sidewalk.