Chapter Twenty Two
Friday September 24th, 2010. Early Morning.
“I figured I‘d drive us home since you drove us here.” “That’s okay Ran-Ran. What are your plans after the show?” Kolleen asked. He was beginning to get used to the nickname that she was calling him now. It always made him smile when he heard her voice calling him. “I’ll probably shoot up to my mom’s hospital room to see how she’s doing. Would you like to join me?” he asked. They entered the alleyway where they met Randy’s wrestling buddy a few days ago. Randy stopped at the end of the alleyway to allow the morning traffic to rush by them. As they waited, Kolleen spoke up, with a bit of shakiness in her voice.
“What’s the matter?” He stole a moment to glance over at her. Her face was turning red and her hands were shaking slightly. He grabbed her hand firmly, then gave her a smug grin. “It’s n-nothing R-Randy, I’m j-just a bit nervous…” Kolleen trailed off. He found an open spot in the traffic so he rushed into it quickly before the spot was taken. He was lucky to do so, because there was an enormous line of vehicles behind him. As they drove peacefully along the highway, Randy continued to hold Kolleen’s hand, which was tensing up in his.
They stopped at the four way turn like they did every time they ended their shift. Randy knew they would be there for a while since the roads leading up to the freeways were packed. He threw his truck into park for the time being and turned all his attention to Kolleen. He brushed her hair behind her ear, to reveal a teary left eye. “What’s wrong Kol?” She shook her head, “It’s n-nothing.” She replied. “But of course it is, you’re crying.” He pulled her in towards him so they could be closer.
She nuzzled her face into his chest and sobbed harder. He hated seeing her so sad; the only thing he knew he could do was comfort her. So he rubbed her back and kept holding her hand. Kolleen kept nuzzling her head in his chest, crying all the while. Her hair was so soft to his skin, it was one of the qualities he loved about her the most. “You have to tell me what the matter is Kol; I can’t read your mind.” She pulled away from him, and straightened her own hair with her continuously shaky hands.
“I’ve just been overcome with everything that has been happening to us Randy. I mean, you’re still going with wrestling, I’m still in college. Now your mom’s in the hospital…” She looked over at him, tears still rolling down her cheeks. “How are you coping with all this so easily?” she asked. This question hit him so hard that he felt his heart beat harder. “I-I really don’t know how I’m handling this like I am Kol. I guess it takes me back to when my dad died. I was just a little kid but I had to be strong for my mom. She couldn’t stop crying and I was the only man left in the house. I didn’t want her to have to feel weak and strong as well… I guess I’m used to the pressure.”
“Randy, this isn’t any normal average everyday pressure. Your mom’s in the hospital! She’s clearly sick; very sick! I find it hard to believe that you’re not secretly buckling under all this pressure. Be honest with me.” These words hit him hard like the others. Kolleen always had a way to break him down to where he had to be.
“I-I guess that sometimes every man has to have his weak points. I mean we’re human too, right?” Randy asked. “Yes, yes you are! Come here.” Kolleen said, waving him towards her. He allowed her to embrace him and then as if a lever was pulled, Randy felt all of the recent past pour out of him. He just cried and cried as hard as he could manage. He couldn’t stop it anymore; his eyes kept leaking more and more as time wore on. Kolleen rubbed his back and hushed him as he rocked back and forth. “I know… you have to let it all out Randy. If you just bottle these emotions up, it’ll eat you alive.”
Behind them, out of nowhere, a car honked its loud horn for almost ten seconds and then he shouted out of his window. Kolleen turned and stared angrily at him. “We should move Randy, the light’s green.” She looked down at him and smiled at his vulnerability. He lifted his head and turned his attention back to the road. Kolleen saw the puffiness in his eyes, and the red in his cheeks. He flipped the car into drive and immediately drove left. Multiple houses and trees passed them as they cruised to the side road that would take them to their houses.
“Randy, can I ask you something?” Kolleen said. “Yeah g-go ahead.” “Your show is tonight; can I be there?” He stopped, just short of their road. “You have college tomorrow Kol, wouldn’t you be tired?” “Well, number one, probably not. I forgot to mention to Mrs. Jones that I now take classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. I changed the schedule around online, earlier this week. I know that this show’s important to you Randy. It’s the twenty fifth time that you’ve been on the air and you have to be getting recognition for that. It’s an important night and I don’t want to miss it. Just like I wouldn’t want you to miss my graduation.” she said. “Do as you wish Kol, I’m not your boss. I would love you to be there though.” Randy replied.
He forced a smile at her, but she knew he was depressed deep down. “Thanks Ran-Ran, I’ll go with you in your truck, is that fine?” He nodded back at her and then drove up the hill towards their houses. The sun was peaking out from behind the fog, shining against Randy’s face. He squinted his eyes so he could see the road ahead of him. Kolleen saw the stern face that he wore; the same one he had to try and prove he was doing fine. She knew better though; he was crying like a little boy deep down and she knew he needed it. His right eye was still glistening with sadness, so she wiped it away.
Randy felt his heart leap at her touch; he held her hand firmly and then squeezed it. She stopped, feeling her heart smashing against her chest and the bottom of her throat. She then returned the light squeeze and turned towards her window, smiling at her reflection. He pulled the car into her driveway so she could easily walk to her front door. “I’ll see you tonight Kol.” he said. As Kolleen sat there, she could feel the temperature rising around her. Randy felt the same tension building up and for some reason, he wanted to kiss her. He felt like this was the perfect time to initiate it. “Kol…?” he started. “I know…” she replied. Suddenly their faces were connected by their lips, and the vehicle heated up even more.
Randy’s face burned red hot as well as Kolleen’s. They kissed so passionately that he swore he felt their hearts beating at the same pace. Kolleen had her hands on his face while he had his on her waist. Kolleen’s lips were so soft to him; he couldn’t believe it. After a few minutes passed, they both pulled away at the same time. They followed through with shy smiles; Kolleen played with her hair, and Randy ruffled his up a bit. “I-I’ll see you later then?” Kolleen asked. “Of course.” Randy replied. He got out and opened her door for her.
She straightened her clothes and then placed her hair behind her ears as she did so many times before. Leaning over the car, she waved at him and gave him the biggest smile she ever gave him before. “See ya Ran-Ran.” “Later, Kol.” He tossed her the keys which she caught. He waited until she got to her front door and once she was safely inside, he locked up her car and jogged over to his house. The exterior looked much more ominous than the interior. He rested against the edge of his truck to get a good look at the building. “I miss you mom.” he whispered, staring up at the darkened windows.
“I can’t lose focus though. Mom would want me to be happy and dad would want my mind to be clear for the show tonight.” He turned all of his attention back across the street. He saw the curtains moving in Kolleen’s window and shortly afterward, she was there. She saw him watching and smiled brightly at him, placing a hand on the glass. Randy waved back at her and felt all his worries float off into the abyss. She blew him a kiss, which he acted like he caught and put it in his pocket. She giggled; he knew this because her eyes were slightly squinted. When she shut her curtains, Randy turned and walked towards his front door. Once he was inside responsibilities began to kick in.
He didn’t have his mom to wake him up at the moment, so he grabbed his cell phone out of his pocket and set an alarm for 3:00 P.M. Once it was good to go, Randy sprinted down the hall, up the stairs and into his room. When his door shut, he kicked his shoes and socks off as well as his jeans then jumped into his bed. He only had six hours of sleep until he had to be up to leave for the show. The thought of the kiss that Kolleen shared with him previously, made his entire day. He couldn’t keep his heart calm for a long while as he thought about the passion that ran between them.
He looked up at his ceiling, and shot a silent prayer up to God and his father. Dear God, it’s Randy here. I’m just praying to ask for the strength to make it through the next few days or even weeks. My mom’s in a horrible state and she needs your help as well as Jesus’ and my father‘s. Please tell my dad that I miss him and that mom really does need him badly. Also, please give me the will to keep on the straight and narrow and let Kolleen and I grow closer. We kissed today God, and I couldn’t be any happier. Of course I don’t know what’s in store for me tonight; you do, but I don’t. Please help me and my mom and keep Kolleen safe as well. Until next time, God’s and Jesus’ name I pray, Amen. Then Randy closed is eyes, and let the image of Kolleen’s face carry him to a blissful slumber.