And walked past him to my house without replying to his asking what my name was. I went to my room pleased I had at last summoned the courage to put him down. After setting my books on the dresser I wrote on my Pee Che, "Crystal Blue Eyes" then scribbled it out. I didn't tell Mom what happened. After dinner he showed up at our front porch and asked to talk to her.
He told her.
"Hi, just moved next door and drive to school, to San Jose State in the morning. You take the bus. Would you like to ride with me instead?"
"No, I leave early to work at 7:15 and go with my daughter."
"That's when I leave, we can all go."
Mom thought about saving our dime bus fares.
"What are you charging?"
"Free, I just don't want to see you wasting time and money on the bus.
You can buy gas if you want but don’t need to. It’s a free ride."
“I'll think about it. I’ll ask my husband."
She closed the door on him without saying more. Her saying she was asking Dad was her excuse to get rid of him, her polite no. The next morning, however, his car was waiting in the driveway.
With no reason not to, we climbed in the back seat and exchanged names. I
expected an agenda such as charging a dime each or snide comments but he simply
dropped me off first saying.
"Study hard Eleanor."
He then sped off with a pop of the clutch to take mom to work. The pattern
was repeated but after a week when I got out of school he was waiting for me.
“Eleanor, over here, I’m here to pick you up. Hop in. We’ll go pick your Mom
up too. Come on, I’m not going to bite you. I promise.”
I stood next to the passenger door as he coaxed me in through the rolled
down window. I was nervous riding alone with him. I’d have to sit in the front
seat. It would look stupid to ride in the back as if he was my chauffeur. Disconcerted I got in and scrunched next to
Classmates looked amazed seeing my getting a ride.
Mom was walking toward the bus stop when we caught up with her. She smiled
seeing us, got in and forced me next to him. For the first time I could smell
him, a hair pomade scent with a hint of vanilla.