During our drive to Pamela's I recall not much was said. Inside my head I figured cowboy Billy had probably had it with this little Yankee girl, her dog and her various other antics. Upon returning to reality from one of my daylight daydreaming sessions, we had stopped at a red light where it seemed like no one else existed but Cowboy, Duke, and I. I wasn't sure why it seemed that way but it did. Like one of those deja vu moments. Billy broke my trance when he asked what I was going to say to my inconsiderate friend who had abandoned her house guest, me, at a night club in a strange city. I responded with the fact I was not sure just yet. That I might have to wait until its "afore" me. I had been in Texas long enough to start picking up some of its southern slang. And just as I finished answering cowboy we pulled into the apartment parking lot, in a Houston suburb, where Pamela lived and I was the visitor.
I knocked on the door of Apartment 10. All the while preparing myself for what I wasn't sure. Pamela answered the door and was immediately all smiles and giddy laughter. God, that sent me into an immediate mental angry tailspin. What the Texas Sam hell was so danged funny I thought. Pamela proceeded to tell me she hoped she hadn't worried me by leaving the club early with her man. She said she could see by the way we were dancing that I was going to be busy all the rest of the night and she wanted to give me some privacy. I am pretty sure my mouth was hanging open in disbelief. She actually thought I would be worried about her. I turned toward Cowboy Billy in some faint thought he might be thinking the same thing I was but instead he started to laugh. I turned back to Pamela and she was laughing also. And so it was, I joined the laughing duo. She was as dumb as a Texas rock and didn't even know it, or at least why she was laughing. Guess that is where the term ignorance is bliss originated. Right there in her Houston, Texas living room is where. It was almost as if there was a small cartoon cloud with little circles coming from her brain saying, 'I gulped air at a slumber party when I was thirteen and now I have a serious case of the dumbass." No wonder Cowboy was laughing which in turn had become contagious and jumped onto me and pulled me out of a big old anger bush. Even Duke started barking. I had wanted to strangle that girl but instead I pitied her. She did make some fine jewelry but she sure didn't have much wits about her.
She invited us inside, fixed us a gin and tonic, and then without a moments hesitation moved in on Cowboy Billy taking him by the arm and walking him on a tour of her apartment and jewelry collection. I must say I noticed the man was duly impressed. In fact when looking back on the situation and recalling her giggles as well as her taking Billy's arm in hers, I guess she was moving in on my man before I had a chance to give him that title myself. Just like back at the grade school playground. Danged if she hadn't come up with a new fainting trick to steal Cowboy. But he hadn't fallen for it. He wasn't the type to fall for blonde giggles and wiggles. No, Billy Connolly was a professional man that carried some, no, a lot of class in all areas of his life. I had noticed it but wasn't completely sure considering I only met the man twenty four hours ago. But I came to find out exactly who he was as the days passed on. I already knew he was a gentleman, it was the rest of the story that eventually took my breath away.
We had listened to Pamela for what seemed like hours when finally her date arrived and thankfully took her out and away into the bright city lights for dinner and God knows what else. All I knew is I was so glad the" me-I-tis" self chatter had stopped. Billy and I just sat in her living room in total silence for several minutes. Then he said, "How do you know that woman?" And then we both started laughing again. When we settled down Billy told me he would like to get to know me better because so far all he knew wasn't very much. And then he added that he hoped I would stay in Houston. He reiterated Houston had big city lights referencing a comment I had made regarding my journey from upper boundary waters of Northern Wisconsin to find the big city lights. I stared at him and he at me for what seemed like a long time. It was then that I told Bill Connolly that I had no plans of staying in Houston. That I would be leaving in the morning for Austin to visit my Grandparents before heading west on Route 66 to the West Coast. He finished my sentence for me by saying, "In your beautiful pink Cadillac." And then, we laughed again.
There was a chemistry between us, no question about that, but I had no time for petty little affairs like Pamela did. Yet something about Billy seemed other than petty. Billy interrupted my thoughts and boldly told me he was coming to Austin with me.
"Oh really." I said.
"Yes really, Miss Julianna."
I gave him a slight frown and then told him I would pick him up at his house in the morning around nine in my beautiful pink Cadillac. He laughed.
When Billy drove away from Pamela's that evening I felt a loss of some kind. It wasn't readily explainable in words or even in my own private thoughts. Even Duke looked a little sad like he wasn't sure if we would ever see Cowboy Billy again. As far as Duke knew Billy had saved him from a prison that kept him from me for longer than his dog understanding could decipher.
I decided to have another Gin and tonic at which time I forgot about the mind wanderings regarding Cowboy Billy. Who was that masked man anyway? I guess he really wasn't trying to hide anything like spoiled Roger did. No comparison in those two men for sure.
I packed up my belongings that evening, left Pamela an abandonment thank you note and Duke and I drove back to the little motel on Westheimer to relax and gather back the peace we had lost the past twenty four hours. When I left home my goal was to travel Route 66 South to Oklahoma, then all the way to the West Coast, meeting every different type person that came before me and giving back to each one my genuine joy, peace, and love. So far on my journey to the big city lights out west, I had met with nothing close to joy, peace, and love.... but I wasn't one to ever give up.
My visit with my Nana in Austin always provided me something good for my life. And this time was no different.
And so it was, Cowboy Billy, who I found out also had family in Austin, left Houston with me the following morning. It gave us some extra time to continue what we did best, talking and laughing. Something we seemed to do quite often the past thirty six hours or so. But before we left the city limits there was one more stop to be made. That was RJ's Boot Company. Pamela had recommended this particular store saying they would have the Pink Cowgirl boots I insisted upon. In fact she told me they special made Dolly Parton's boots. And indeed I did find a beautiful pair of light pink western boots to match my suit, purse, and my Cadillac. I was the happiest girl in the whole USA. Duke could tell I was happy too. He was licking my face and jumping all around the car. He was happy to see me happy again and so was I.
We hit the highway tooling. We were making really good time while enjoying each others joking and funny storytelling. Although at one point during our three hour trip Billy got rather quiet. I could tell he was in deep thought regarding something. And when he finally did speak his demeanor became even more serious. Then there it was, out of his mouth he asked me not to discuss the police situation with his parents as it might not be as funny to them. That is when I informed him it was in no way shape or form funny to me either and what did he mean that I not discuss such with his parents. What made him think I would be meeting his parents? But before I could respond, my mind had already moved on to ask him how he could just take off work and go to Austin. He told me it was no sweat, not to worry about it, that he just could. I also inquired as to how he would get back home to Houston. He laughed again, said not to worry he had ways. And so it was. I let it all go because Duke and I were almost on our way out west, and it wouldn't matter anyway. Cowboy Billy would go down in history as one of the good guys I met on my journey West. Or so I thought.