Highway 80 west stories. Part three. “Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Highway 80 west stories. Part three “Cheyenne, Wyoming”
A Chapter by Coyote Poetry
Time and distance decreases the pain. Life teaches us life isn’t fair. Sometime we must burn to know we are alive.
I pulled the hotel blanket off the bed and ensured Lana was covered and kept warm. I caressed Lana forehead softly till she fell into a deep sleep and I tried to find sleep. My goal tomorrow was Cheyenne. I hope Lana wasn’t in a rush for Reno. Reno was one of my stops before crossing into the mountains into California. I knew it would be her decision. I learn many years ago. You follow life to where it takes you. Sometime things happen for a reason.
I awoke and the sun was rising. Lana was awoke and was she was trying to get cleaned up. I heard her in the bathroom. I got up and knocked on the door. I told her. “I bought some basics. Did you find them?” She opened the door. Looked embarrassed and confused. She told me. “I’m sorry to mess up your vacation. If you want. I could take the Greyhound bus to Reno. You would be free of me and my problems.” I smiled and asked her. “Ever seen Cheyenne, Wyoming? I heard they have a pretty city and I want to see the Theater Big Boot.” Lana smiled and answered. “Okay my soldier friend. I will go with you as long as I’m not a inconvenience. The Theater Big Boot sound like something I need. Maybe I can forget some of my problems?”
We drove for 7 hours. The silence was hard. I played the radio. Mainly country station in the Midwest. She told me part of her life. She had never left the East coast. She went to college and got a teaching degree. Her father was proud of his baby daughter. She told me with tears. “Old dad just faded away and died. He told me the Vietnam war caught up with him finally. He died a painful and bad death. I have my father’s money. I was just in a hurry and my boyfriend offered to take her to Reno for some cash.”
I told her as we entered the Best Western Frontier hotel. “Today we will roam the city of Wyoming and tonight I wish you to go to the Outlaw Saloon with me.” Lana laughed for the first time and told me. “I will be honored to accompany you to the Outlaw Inn. Sound like a wild place.” I told her. “I heard the drink is cheap and the music is good but first let’s do some shopping first. You can’t play cowgirl without boots and jeans. We will do some shopping while we roam Cheyennes.”
I found a outlet mall. Lana shopped and she bought the basics clothing. She had nothing. Boyfriend drove away and left her with little but what was on her back and feet. I followed her around. Agree to her selections like a polite man should. She bought her cowboy boots and tight jeans. She chose a pink blouse and asked me. “Will I look nice enough for the Outlaw Inn?” I told her. “You will be the bell of the dance hall.”
Cheyenne, Wyoming is a beautiful city. Many sites and places. I like the feel of old days in the building and the people. Everyone was polite and kind to us. Lana held my hand and held it tight. I believe she needed the comfort of another human being. She was very pretty and I had to control my normal ways. I knew there are times to seek sex and sometimes you must be a friend. I had six sisters and I learn. Even a asshole must be kind.
We found the Theater Big Boot. She stood by the boot. She touched the boot and told me. “Old dad would of liked this. He like the old ways. He was like you. Filled with secrets and mystery. Never talk of war or bad times. He just worked and loved us kids. He like to smile and drink his beer. I miss his laughter and smile.”
Lana was dressed and ready. She was artwork for my eyes. I told her. “You will steal many hearts tonight. Can you two-step?” She smiled and told me. “I have danced a few two-steps in my time. Even in Boston. A few hidden Country dance halls.”
The Outlaw Inn was better than I predicted. Big dance hall, a big stage for the band and cheap beer and drink till 10 pm. The door man gave us a Howdy and told us to have a great time after checking our I.D. I ordered two long Island ice teas. Lana watched the few people dancing and asked me. “Am I going to be okay? I’m so damn sad.”
I took her hands and told her.”I went to war. I was raised by a kind Grandfather. I called him two months ago to tell him I was returning home from the war. My sister answered the phone. She told Grandpa died last month. We didn’t want to tell you while you were so far away. I thanked her and hung up. I couldn’t stand up for hours. The person who taught me how to live was gone. I wished I told him, I loved him more often and thanks him for his love and kindness.” Lana wrapped her arms around me and whispered. “No perfect life is it? We must cry to know laughter. We must lose people to appreciate them.” Lana saw tears in my eyes. She brought my face to her face. Kissed my tears away. She told me . “Time to dance Cowboy. You promise me many dances. Tonight we will dance. We will dance for people who cannot not. Thank you Johnnie for being a friend when I needed one.”