Whenever he mentioned flying, Candy would immediately find herself in a daydream. She was glad they made a pit stop when they did. She had to pee and she was hungry. And she wanted to fly.
They had driven many nights and passed through numerous towns with the State Patrol sitting at the edges of some and the local sheriff taking a catnap in a patrol car in others. Apparently, Candy and Dick weren’t fugitives. Maybe the foul-mouthed antique dealer was more a pain in the ass to everyone than an upstanding businessman pretending to bring goodwill to Lamar.
Candy left Dick to his own as she grabbed a quick cup of coffee and a bag of salted peanuts once she took care of her own business.
“I’ll be across the street in the park.”
She didn’t look at Dick or wait for a reply. She was the driver in this relationship. He would have to learn to live with. Dick didn’t mind.
Candy always found a park with benches and tall trees. At this park she found the perfect bench farthest away from the playground. She didn’t want to engage any moms in small talk about their pathetic lives or their darling children. And she definitely didn’t want to hear the screaming voices climbing all over a metal giraffe painted purple with pink spots or the incessant clacking of the metal blocks on a giant abacus that was supposed to be a “Learning Tool for the Active Child.”
Candy ate her peanuts and drank the coffee as she made her way to her perfect bench. There was even a trashcan nearby to deposit the paper wrapper and styrofoam cup. She was glad she chose this day to wear the cargo pants and white shirt, ala Indiana Jones. She felt like an adventure was brewing.
One day she would have enough bills to buy a leather jacket, whip, and her favorite piece of Indiana Jones equipment, the fedora. Right now she had to settle for a perfectly constructed pair of pants and shirt. She spent hours watching and re-watching all five IJ movies to be sure she had all the details just right. She came up with the final design, a grand mix of all five movies and built her pieces with love. The pant fit was perfect. The shirt was right on, too.
Candy felt confident and relaxed and ready for anything that came her way.
By the time she planted herself on the bench, her stomach stopped growling and the coffee gave her just the right buzz. Stretching out on the bench, Candy placed her arms behind her head cradling it so she could see the clearing between the trees. The sky was the perfect blue for a daydream.
When Candy hit the Ladies’ Room, Dick picked up a bag of marshmallows and a can of yams along with a package of small aluminum containers inside the convenience store. It turned out Dick loved Thanksgiving more than any other holiday. Since he’d been on the street, he could only celebrate the holiday in whatever food line he was near. Sometimes they served his favorite dish. Most times they didn’t. It was baked yams with crusty marshmallows on top. Today was the day.
To celebrate his new friendship with the crazy girl who wore hand made movie clothes and said she was a performance artist, what ever that meant, Dick decided to make his favorite recipe. He also grabbed a small container of cinnamon and a brick of real butter. Not margarine, he knew that stuff would kill you. And he planned to surprise Candy.
Dick paid for the bounty and quickly made his way back to the Airstream. They had been on the road for several weeks now and she had a pattern. She would get up while it was still dark.
Candy allowed Dick to sleep on the floor as long as he was a gentleman. He saw what she had done to the antique dealer in Lamar even though he pretended to be asleep on the park bench. She was strong, fast, and smart. He knew right then he would never cross her.
He also knew she would be there for him if he ever needed her. It was funny how quick those things happen sometimes. You just feel it between some people. Right when you meet them and look into their eyes, you just know it. They’d give their life for you. He would give his for Candy. He had a feeling she would do the same for him.
In the early morning dark Candy would swing some kind of crazy pendulum above a map and soon they would be on their way. She knew exactly where they were going.
Dick marveled at Candy’s knack for finding parks in small towns. When they entered a new town Candy would know just by the feel of it if there was a good park planted in the town. Then there would be a rest stop and time for a daydream. If there wasn’t a park worth a pause, she’d drive right on through.
Only once did they have to drive through the night. They did a pit stop for convenience and there were leftovers to be had in the small fridge in the back of the Airstream to eat. And they kept going. They drove for almost two days straight and when they got to Carson, Candy somehow knew there was a perfectly planted park for a daydream or two.
Inside the Airstream, Dick felt like he was back at home. He thought he could smell turkey roasting in the oven. He could remember cans of corn, cranberry jelly, and green beans lined up on the counter waiting for a can opener to crank open each one and plop them into an appropriate container or pot. He could almost reach out and poke the fluffy buns tied tightly inside the plastic bag, brown and a little shiny on top from the egg white that was brushed on the dough right before they were popped into the oven. And the baked canned yams with marshmallow topping. It was his creation he learned from the neighbor lady.
The neighbor lady promised that this dish would sing gratefulness to even the most hard-hearted or sour soul. And she was right. No matter who Dick served it to, a smile rolled across their face and they were grateful to know Dick Harding that moment in their lives.
That was what Thanksgiving was all about, planning a beautiful meal to share with those you love showing them how grateful you were to have them in your life.
But life doesn’t always work out that way. Families aren’t always grateful and sometimes you’re just in the way. So Dick made himself and his yam and marshmallow dish scarce and no one ever tried to find out why.
So now Dick could be grateful once again. This time for the girl with the movie star clothes and her performance art, whatever that was. He had to somehow find out what that meant. Dick was patient. He knew the time would be right some day. Today it was grateful yam day.
At one point when Dick still had some cash in his belt, he had a Ford pick-up that he traveled in. He didn’t have a kitchen to cook in so he had to figure out a way to do it while he drove. Once he was listening to a talk show in a bar as he was having a few and a lady swore that she and her husband always cooked while they traveled across the country. It was exactly the way Dick was looking for to make his dish.
First he layered the canned yams into one of the small aluminum containers. Next he sprinkled it with some cinnamon. He didn’t buy sugar. He used the odd sweet stuff Candy had. She called it stevie or something like that. He thought she would appreciate the nod to her taste buds. Then he put chunks of butter on top of that. Finally, he poured the little marshmallows to cover it all up making it look like a summer sky blooming with clouds. He fastened another aluminum tin on top with some paper clips he found in Candy’s junk drawer. Then he looked out to make sure Candy wasn’t watching.
He could see her stretched out on a bench in the middle of the park. He smiled. She was doing what she seemed to love most, daydreaming. He wondered if she was flying.
Dick left the Airstream and quickly moved to the front of the Nova lifting the hood. He snuggly fit the tin near the motor. Once they started back on their travels, the heat would not only make a delicious meal for them, but the car would smell like Thanksgiving. Dick hadn’t been grateful in a while. Today was the start of new wave of gratefulness. He could just feel it.
The sun was warm on Candy’s face. It was the beginning of November in the southwest. Days were deliciously warm and nights were a time to snuggle yourself under fluffy warm blankets with the window cracked open just so you could hear the coyotes or at least the dry leaves dancing down the street. And the crisp cold night brushing across your face. He would be there next to her, not touching her, but present, safe and sure.
She stared straight up into the amazing blue sky. It reminded her of the blue of his eyes when her wore her favorite navy blue sweater. Every time he mentioned flying…Candy was flying.
She didn’t know if it was the memory of him or the stories they would make up together about flying without a plane, or even without wings. Jumping off the edge of the Grand Canyon and twirling through the valleys. Or stepping off a high snowy peak and free falling into a glide through the Rocky Mountains. Once they even told the story of being inside a hot bubbly volcano and in the eruption burst into the sky like fiery phoenixes rising from the burn.
When she really felt it, wanted it, and the place was just right – a bench in a perfect park under a warm late afternoon sun – she could feel as though she was rising into the air and she could fly.
Candy felt something grab her ankles and she tumbled back to earth.
“Hey, watcha ya doin’ there, girlie?”
Within seconds Candy was on her feet. He didn’t have a chance.
National Novel Writing Month started a few days ago. I won two years in a row but couldn’t do it last year because of my work schedule.
This year I started a day late. And I have a different kind of plan.
I am going to write from a prompt each day. I have nothing in mind. I’m going to be brave and just post my work.
I’ll see what happens. Day 1 and 2 are two different stories. However, today’s prompt led me to connect it to yesterday’s story.
Quite a challenge. I’ll see how long I can keep going.
Here’s today’s prompt from Bonnie Newbauer’s website Story Spinner:
in a daydream
Whenever he mentions flying…
Here are links to my past NaNoWriMo 2104 daily entries:
November 3: Airstream
November 2: Tea and Rosemary