It’s been eight years since I last saw Danielle. We rode a Greyhound bus together from Baltimore to the west coast.
She sat right behind me in a very noisy bus where a couple boisterous dudes were cracking us up. Another guy was getting fresh with the girl next to him, and she complained to the bus driver.
“Ok, just get up and sit someone else then. The rest of you punks – if I hear another peep out of you, I’m gonna pull over and drop you off on the side of the road.”
The ruckus subsided, but still I didn’t get a lick of sleep.
At the transfer in St Louis, I joined the other backpackers sleeping on the floor. I was headed to Joplin for tornado relief – I would need the rest.
Thankfully Danielle interrupted my siesta with her rendition of Keyshia Cole’s Love. She had a voice that could move mountains.
I got off at Joplin, MO to assist with the tornado relief. She continued to Oklahoma City. We lost touch over the years but then facebook found a way to reunite us.
“Hi Danielle, haven’t spoken to you in years. What’s shaking?.”
“Yeah, it’s been a minute. I’m in Dallas now. We’re getting evicted – the landlord wants us out ,” she announced.
“Wow, that’s sad. What are your options?”
“I do have a job offer, but I need help in watching my baby.”
“Well if you like I can bring you to DC. There’s plenty of work here.”
“Where would I stay?”
“I have an attic on Lebaum Street.”
So I took a one-way flight to Dallas to see Danielle. The plan was to rent a car and drive back.
I rented a Dodge Charger and drove up to her apartment complex
Knocked on the door not sure if I had the right address. My biggest fear was having this big dude the size of a Dallas Cowboy Linebacker meet me at the door. Or some gun-crazy Texan with a sawed-off shotgun.
My fears were relieved when I met a middle-aged lady with a big smile.
“Is Danielle home?” I asked with a measure of gratitude.
“Oh yeah, my daughter told me all about you. Come on in,” she responded reassuringly.
“It’s great to see you – didn’t think you would actually make it,” Danielle exclaimed giving me a hug for all those years.
“So I’m a man of my word.”
Then Danielle introduced me to her one-year old Davianna.
“Hi Davi, such a precious doll.” Then I bent down and picked her up. “Last time I saw your momma, was eight years ago,” I whispered.
“Geez, we have a lot of catching up to do.”
“Look at him. He’s such a nice guy, honey, way better than the last dope,” Danielle’s mother added.
“Danielle blushed. Yeah, the last guy I dated was a real schizo. He turned overly violent and punched me in the face and bruised my eye. I filed a protective order on his ass.”
“Oh my gosh, well shall we grab a bite before it gets too late?”
Had a nice dinner with Danielle and Davina at Bangkok Orchid
Danielle had the Penang curry – it was the bomb!
I ordered the Drunken Noodles with shrimp – 3 peppers out of 5 and boy those juicy Thai peppers were hotter than the engine exhaust pipes. I had to order a 20 ounce glass of Singha just to put out the flames. No wonder they call these noodles drunken.
“So, are you receiving child support?” I inquired.
“No honey, Davi’s father is in prison,” she responded.
“Oh, sorry to hear that. How are you making ends meet?”
“It’s tough, once we move out my Mom’s apartment, we’re looking for an Extended Stay or Budget Suites.”
“Ditch the hotel, come to DC. I’m still game to drive to Washington, if you are interested,” I suggested.
“Brr, it’s cold in DC. Davi is gonna freeze her lil’ ass. Lemme think about it.”
“Well DC may be cold in the winters, but it’s brimming with cash.”
“Yeah, well maybe getting out of town so my ex doesn’t hunt me down, maybe the right thing to do.”
“Ok, I’m gonna drive south to San Antonio. On the way back pls lemme know if you’re interested. If not, I’ll just fly home to DC.”
My first stop was in Waco, the home of Baylor University.
Who hasn’t heard about this town. It gained infamy from the Branch Davidian – it is a where a part of America’s heart and soul died. The ATF issued a search warrant for illegal weapons to arrest David Koresh, their leader. The raid resulted in a shootout resulting in the death of four agents.
As a result the FBI took siege of the property for 51 days resulting in a tank and tear gas assault resulting in the death of 76 Branch Davidians.
I I stopped at El Charro Tapatio, and had Mexican breakfast of eggs, beans and potatoes with corn tortilla. The table next to me ordered the flautas. There’s a nice size patio, albeit on a busy street, and I was impressed by the decor and traditional color scheme. Even Chip and Joanna Gaines would be proud.
On the way back, I called Danielle. She was delaying her decision.
I couldn’t wait for her, so I had to return.