This is a small story that will be a part of my current work in process…
The sun was shining brightly, but the wind carried a promise of snow. I adjusted my camera around my neck. Hopefully today would be the day that I caught that perfect picture. I stopped to let a couple of cowboys lead their horses toward the grandstand. I smiled at them as they went by and then lit a cigarette.
I could hear music playing and I stopped, watching the pageantry from across the parking lot. Dust was kicked up by the horses galloping across the arena. I kept walking, wishing Bobby was here. He would have loved the buildup to the rodeo events. This was his element: high energy, loud. Always friendly, he would have been right in the middle of the action. I went to my first rodeo with him and Carrie, tagging along, wishing I could just go up and talk to people.
Crushing the cigarette beneath my boot heel, I realized why Bobby was in my head tonight. Someone was playing Alabama. The first song Bobby and I ever danced to was “Feels So Right.” I was 14 and had the biggest crush on my best friend’s brother. Carrie and I were at our first high school dance. We were giggling in the corner with several of our friends when Bobby came out of the crowd and pulled me out on the dance floor. I was pretty sure I was in heaven. We started dating shortly after that and were together every day until the day I ran away.
It’s amazing the pull a song can have. It had been four years and I had never felt that I wanted to go home until tonight. I walked over to the pay phone by the snack bar, pulled out a quarter and dialed the number that was indelibly imprinted on my brain. The phone rang several times and then the answering machine picked up. Tears filled my eyes as I left the message, “I’m ok. I miss you all.” And hung up.