“I wonder what she is like,” Billy said to himself. “Do we resemble one another. I wonder if she has photos. Will she share some childhood memories. I want to have a mother and father so bad. That is what I’ve missed in my life. You have to know you come from somewhere and someone. Is it too much to ask where and who?”
“Ruth seemed to hate her. I hope she is a good woman and that circumstances led her to desperation. I will be understanding. She raised me the best she probably could.”
Billy filled his heart with expectation of good and the vision of an old lady longing to see her long last son. He smiled. “I’m finally coming home.”
“That is what this is all about,” Billy said. “Finding out who I am, finding my home, finding myself. Few have that quest. I’m fortunate, because now I can appreciate how important it is.”
In Bishop, California he stopped at a diner. He sat at the counter.
“You sure look happy today,” a middle aged waitress said.
“Yep,” Billy said. “I think this is going to be a good day.”
“Well, what can we getcha,” she said.
“A big thick juicy hamburger, lettuce, tomato, onion, and mustard and a strawberry milkshake,” Billy said.
“Sounds like a celebration,” she said.
“Yep,” Billy said. “I’m going to see my mom. I haven’t seen her in nearly 35 years.”
She jotted the order on her pad and passed it through a window to the kitchen. “There’s a gift shop a couple of doors down, you might want to pick something out for her.”
“Yeah,” Billy said. “Never thought of that. What would you get?”
“Something she might like,” she said. “What do you remember that she liked?”
Billy’s glee turned somber. “Men, I remember a lot of men around. You know, sometimes a couple a day. I suppose more. I didn’t stick around when it started.”
The waitress stood not knowing what to do.
“Can you just make it to go,” Billy said. “I’m sure hungry, but I’m not sure I can keep it down.”
The waitress poked her head into the kitchen window, “Make that last burger to go.”
Billy laid a twenty dollar bill on the counter. “Keep the change. I’m stepping outside. If you don’t mind just let me know when it’s ready.”
“I’ll bring it to you ,” she said.
“Thanks,” Billy said.
He leaned against his car staring at his reflection in the diner’s window. He wondered if it was really him he gazed at or someone else. It was difficult to connect the image with his own awareness.
Soon the order came. “Are you sure you wouldn’t like to eat at a booth?”
“I’m sure,” Billy said.
“Be careful,” the waitress said.
“Thanks,” Billy said.
Moments later he was on the road again. The burger was good and the strawberry shake even better. “Strawberry shakes,” Billy smiled, “Mom and I picked fresh strawberries and made shakes. I‘ll find her fresh strawberries.”
As Billy drove he struggled with a thousand thoughts, none stayed long enough for him to contemplate and understand completely. “It will all slow down someday. Then I can pick it all apart.”
“Mom was a whore,” Billy whispered. “I may have had several possibilities as far as a father is concerned. Not good, not good.”
It was in a small town named Sierraville that Billy spotted as store that displayed fresh fruits. He stopped and purchased two small baskets and drove on.
There was nothing familiar about the surroundings. It was beautiful country. Mountains gently protruded in the distant landscape. Soft clouds hung overhead. Plains dotted with cattle and green meadows carpeted the expanse between the mountains. The road became flat and straight. It came to a dead end. To the right lay Vinton.