It had been fifteen minutes and the darkness began to fade, we passed through town, and soon that would be mean we would be home, they had no restaurants in Windom; I mean non-fast food restaurants. So that meant my mom had three plans for tonight's meal, Mexican, American, or Really American. For those not versed in the language of Americana: Taco Bell, Mcdonalds, or Sonic. The options were limited but varied, Sonic was the most expensive out of the three making it the most unique of the tastes hence it being the most expensive of the 3 options. Tonight was a surprise however mom passed the yellow glow of the golden arches, moved passed the warm green light of the Taco Bell sign and the clacking of the car came to a halt in the baby blue light of Sonic’s blue and green sign. A monument against the flat lands all day or night the sign still flickered, you could see if for miles, the warm lights silhouetted against the backdrop of the night. The parking lot was empty for all but two cars, ours and a red pickup truck that belonged to the owner of the joint. Mary woke up and rolled her neck in circles and let out a yawn.
“Can I get a milkshake?” she says in a tired but nonchalant voice, she was well versed in her fast food knowledge as much as I. She unbuckled herself from the seat and opened her car door, my mother stared blankly at the baby blue wall of the Sonics. I put my hand on her shoulder, her awareness shifted and shook her head and looked at me.
“Are you ok?” I look into my mother's eyes, bags have developed underneath and her skin is sickly pale.
“I'm fine, long night, Dorothy's boy I don't think he is gonna make it. Marty came in an hour after she left and he was ranting and raving about him not learning about his kid getting hit.” I knew she wasn't fine but I let her be. I didn't need to ask questions about Marty. He was the kind of man who if you ever heard a lick of his name in a conversation it was best the stay away from it, the same thinking applies to the man himself. A ragged, hoarse sounding man, who had the demeanor expected of the local town drunk; he was frightful character. It didn't help his image either the fact that he help a six chambered revolver at the side of his hip everywhere he went.
He wasn't a nice man, not to paint a picture of his character right of the bat; however it's fair to say that he wasn't going to be running for public office or kissing babies. Dorothy had always tensed up when the man walked into the bank where my mother worked. His gun always at his side, she never kept her eyes on him, only his waist. He had never pulled it in anger, to anyone's knowledge but he did have a nasty habit of keeping his hand on it when things got heated, it was the primary reason for why a lot of disputes in towns where quickly settled in his favor. Like the time he hit one of the few local busses in the area, it was a greyhound line bus, he had hit the back wheel with the full force of his Chevy tahoe. The driver came out screaming at the top his lungs and Marty simply put his hand on his gun, The driver backed off and let him go back on his way. Everyone in town knew it was him, it wouldn't surprise me either if the bus driver knew him. No one spoke of it however and when the cops arrived everyone on the bus said it was a blue Summit Wagon that somehow managed to cause the bus to vear. The cop didn't bat an eye to the story. Marty wasn't unique for owning a gun, I mean this is Montana after all; it was Marty the man that made the gun so intimidating. He didn't go to the range, He didn't own any other guns besides the revolver, and he sure as hell didn't come from the military. He just simply is intimidating and the gun was the cherry on top that helped forum his image.
Mom cried a tiny bit, and Mary sat on a brown bench outside the door to Sonic. The glow of the fluorescent bumped off her blonde hair and illuminated her face a soft ghostly white glow. “I'm sorry, John. you guys deserve better, and today wasn't that.” she starts crying. It hadn't been her first time crying in front of me, I knew it wouldn't be her last. I put my hand on her shoulder as she softly sobs into her hands. I don't know what to do in moments like this, I know it's not much, however I know it's something I just wish I knew what. She sniffs and wipes her face with the scarf of her outfit. A red vibrant scarf, that clashed with the button up black felt jackets and white dress shirts that she was required to wear.
“It's ok” I say, I cringed as I said it, I knew that saying that wasn't going to do anything to help the current situation. I knew it was futile. Still I said it.
Then by a miracle, I hear the last of the sniffles “what would I do without you?” she reaches over and put her head to my chest in an awkward car hug, I pat her head. A part of me prays that no-one from my school had decided to come here tonight. She wipes her eyes and she look at me “I'm ready, let's get food” the car door clicks and thuds. I sit in the car for a few moment longer while I look at my Mom go over to Mary. I enjoy the ambience, the soft hum of the Neon lights, the gentle wind, and sounds of cars moving over pavement and gravel. Crack, crack, crack. A world without sound is no world at all. I look over again, they are inside and my mom softly calls me in with the quick patting of her fingers to her palm. I get out of the car, slam the door shut and walk in through the front door of Sonic. Sterile white clashes against the fluorescent light and all is washed away the details and imperfections that one might see in the floor or others. My mom had already ordered for me it was the usual: Chocolate shake with no cherry on top, a Supersonic Cheeseburger, and a Chili Pie also a side of fries. Mary flicked her fingers against the red lining on the table in order to make a dinging noise. Mom put her hand on hers and laid it flat against the table. Mary retracted and instead opted to let her hands dangle too her sides limp like a sleeping monkey.