I slept well, but had a dream. In the dream I walk into the dean’s office and he says he can’t help me. The best way according to him was to just go around the town and look for sign for vacancy. I have no car, so I walk and walk without finding any signs for rooms to rent or share. I am tired and hungry and I want to go home. I take the bus back home. Mom is glad I am back but not dad. I have been a wimp.
When both of us were ready we took off in his Renault to Pauls Valley. The sky had cleared up and it was sunny.
We stopped by the McDonald’s on Jenkins for breakfast. It had a sign heralding that they were the “House of the fifteen-cent Hamburgers”.
“We’re home,” Owen said as we approached a small ranch-style building. A string of white Christmas lights draped across the red brick façade, a wreath hung on the green door and a white picket fence provided the border in the front lawn. There were a few rose bushes to the right of the house.
Owen rang the bell.
“Come on in, come on in,” an elderly man said, opening the door. The bells on the Christmas wreath jingled. The man was wearing a dark brown corduroy pant, white shirt, and a cardigan. I guessed he was Owen’s dad. “Who do we have here?”
It was a relief to step out of the cold into the warm house. As Owen introduced me a blond matronly woman, wearing horn rimmed glasses, walked in from a door to the right.
“I heard voices and thought it must be you,” she said, hugging Owen.
Owen returned the hug and gestured to me. “Mom. This is Ashley. He’s from Phoenix.” I said
The woman asked if we had eaten lunch. We said we did.
“Come in, come in, anyways,” She said as she walked toward the kitchen and we followed her.
Once inside she pointed to a small round table.
“You must be hungry by now after all that driving. You should eat something. There’s long ways to the evening dinner, with the party and all.” She said as she placed two small plates with apple pie and ice cream on top in front of us. We didn’t notice that Owen’s dad had come in and was standing close to us. He started telling us what Owen’s sister Dana wanted for the party and who was invited.
We heard the front door open as he was talking and voices of Dana and another girl. Soon they came in, dressed in Wrangler Jeans and winter jackets. Their hands were full of packages, decorations and stuff.
“Hi, Sis,” Owen said. “Need any help?”
“Hey. When did you get in?”
“Just a while ago.”
Dana didn’t even look at me, but asked if Owen could help her get stuff from the car. I offered to help but they said to just sit back and relax. I was stuck with Owen’s dad, not knowing what to talk. A while later I excused myself and went down to the basement where Owen was helping Dana put up the decorations. I joined them.