It's hours later, after church, as we're walking across the street to the park where the Easter Egg hunt is going to be when I finally bring up the subject of the phone call that Lance got this morning. I don't know what was said, but when I found him with the phone in his hand and still half a face of shaving cream I knew something was wrong. He brushed it off at the time, but in the few hours that have passed since he's been different with me.
"You ok?" I ask sliding my hand into his as he slides his feet across the concrete.
"Yeah," he says with a sigh and looks up at me with a bit of worry in his eyes before he laughs, "No offense to the pastor, but that was a long sermon he gave this morning."
I nod at him and try to figure out what is going on with him. He just seems as if he's not excited about being home now for some reason. "It was good though," I say. "Every time I've gone to church in the last few months I've always come out of there feeling a bit off kilter, but today I feel a little more at peace with things."
Lance smiles and leans to press a kiss against my temple. I like being able to have him do that instead of having to keep my distance from him. During the sermon, Lance put his arm around the back of the pew we were sitting in and his fingers played with the strap of my dress. I wasn't sure for a while what he was doing with it, but it seemed as if he was doing it without even thinking about it. I like that he's comfortable enough with me to forget about what he's doing. "Good. I'm glad you're at peace with things."
He sighs and looks across the park towards all the tiny booths that are set up. Most of them are crafts tents and food tents and then there is one with a platform and a table and if I'm correct in judging what is going on I can tell that it has something to do with the charity work that Lance's mother has signed him up for. He groans. "Please tell me that she didn't get me signed up for some kissing booth or something."
"Hmmm," I say looking at where two police men are now moving to sit at the edges of the booth with the table. Being without security on this trip really hasn't crossed my mind until this morning when Lance was given the news that he was doing a booth at the Easter Party Festival thing. It's one thing to exist in a small town without security, but to be at an event without them is a bit unnerving. "I don't know what she did."
Lance looks nervous suddenly. "Maybe you want to disappear and go back to the house?"
"No," I find myself insulted by his non-request for me to go home. "I'm fine just where I am. I think I'll go hang out with your sister and her husband while you get your charity work done."
"NO." He practically shouts at me then softens and pulls me in closer to him. "No. No. Don't go home. I didn't mean you had to go home or anything like that. You might be bored. Hell I know I'm going to be bored after a while." He takes a breath. "Just come and sit with me. I get bored at these things and--"
I try not to look at him as if he's crazy, but truthfully I'm not sure what is going on with him. This isn't him. He's jumpy and nervous and well I have this sinking feeling that it has to do with the phone call he got this morning. The phone call that I heard part of, but haven't mentioned to him. I know it was from my brother and I have this feeling that Timothy said something to him to freak him out. Knowing my brother he's probably told Lance that he has a curse on him or something idiotic like that.
"Please?" he asks.
I nod and am about to say something more to him when his mother appears.
"Do I have to?" I ask as my mother guides me up to where the booth is that I'm supposed to be running.
"Yes," she says to me in a low voice and looks at Tammy. "I don't understand what is wrong with him this morning."
"He's tired," Tammy says with a certain smile thrown my way.
"Mom," I say, "It's not that I don't want to do this, but you know how it is to be home. I don't like doing all this stuff when I'm here. It's bad enough that I have to parade around at Challenge for the Children."
Mom's eyebrows move together with a half angry look. "Parade around?"
"You know what I mean," I say defensively and pull Tammy closer. She ends up with her back to me and my arms around her from behind as I try to hide behind her. "Save me Tammy."
She wiggles against me and for a moment I'm lost in the feeling of her body against mine. I should probably go straight to hell for thinking it, but I would have rather stayed in bed this morning next to her than come to church and to the Easter Egg Hunt thing.
"This is not exactly what I'm trained for," she says with a laugh. "Protecting you from your mom isn't in my job description."
"Well then what are you good for?" I ask with a comedic tone to my voice. I pray that she is in a good enough mood to realize instantly that this is a joke. That's the worst thing you could say to a woman. I know from personal experince--an experience that I'd rather not repeat anytime soon.
"Hand holding," she says and gives my hand a squeeze where it's locked against her body then moves to face me. "And kisses." She moves and kisses my cheek then keeps her head next to mine. "And other things that I'm not sure you're supposed to talk about on Easter Sunday and definitely not things that I should be talking about in front of your mother."
"I like those ones though," I say with a smile when she pulls away from me.
"Later," she says then steps into my booth and takes a seat behind where my seat is at the table.
"I hope you don't get bored," I say as I notice the sign on the booth. I find out quickly that this isn't a kissing booth, it's a picture booth. Everyone in the town can get their picture taken with me for a donation to the church for twenty dollars. It seems pretty steep to me to pay that much for a picture, but whatever, if the money is going someplace good then I guess I can put up with it for a few hours.
Being at events like today's little fair is something that runs in my blood. I can't count how many days I've had to sit in booths, or green rooms or on buses waiting for things to start, progress, and end. It's something that takes a lot of practice and patience. You have to act the entire time as if this isn't the most boring thing you've ever done and that each person that comes by is the most important person that you've seen that day. You have to understand that the people that come to these things sometimes have that event be the best thing in the world that has ever happened to them.
Lance is great at this kind of thing. He's a born politician, kissing babies and shaking hands seems to come naturally to him. Today he shares little moments with each person that comes by, poses for pictures like a champ, and even answers questions about what he's been up to the last few weeks.
I look up from where I've been staring at the trees across the lawn and find Lance staring at me. "Done?"
"Yeah," he says. "I want to get out of here."
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Last updated: 07/04/04.