Chapter 36: A Million Reasons

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Date nights before were us going out and ending up in bed later.  Now it’s us going out to get away from a baby for four hours.  It’s been a while since we’ve had any time to ourselves, but tonight wasn’t for relaxing atleast not for me.

Sodapop took me to the Tasty Freezy for ice cream.  We drove down the unoccupied road in darkness.  The silence was so thick you could cut it with a knife.  I stared out the window watching the shadows of the trees pass by as the headlight illuminated the next ones.  We both knew what was coming and why we were even going out, but all I could think about May being left alone with the gang.  All I wanted was to be home with my baby.  Soda pulled into the parking lot and helped me out of his rusty old truck.  

When we went into the restaurant, Soda immediately pulled me towards the jukebox and tried to get me to dance with him.  I refused to and attempted to drag him to a booth.  I knew he was trying to avoid this because he knows what’s going to happen.  He finally followed me to a booth where a waitress met us.  Sodapop ordered two cokes and an order of fries. 

He stared blankly down at the table as he slurped down his coke through his straw.  “Soda,” I started to say but he was inactive, “Baby we need to talk about this.”

“What’s there to talk about?”  He snapped back.

I strained to keep temper.  I hated it when he would have a nasty attitude like that, “It’s not safe anymore.  Our neighborhood isn’t how it used to be when we were growing up and you know that.”

He ultimately looked up only to meet my pleading eyes, “We grew up on those streets.  Don’t you want our children to have that experience?.”

“That experience was something no kid should go through!” Our volume was getting a little louder.  Not trying to draw attention to ourselves, we lowered our voices and tried to return to a civil conversation. “Times have changed Sodapop and you know that.”

“This is where our family is and our friends.  It’s where we grew up.” Soda kept pushing.

“I know—but a boy got shot right in front of us.“

“That happens tons of times!” Soda protested.

“What if that was her or you or Ponyboy? Huh? Would that be different?”

He quickly changed the topic.  I could see he was getting uncomfortable. “She can’t go though life not seeing the gang and her uncles everyday.  These are the people who are going to help her get through life.”

“That doesn’t mean that she can’t—we can’t visit on weekends.  The country’s only a couple miles out of town.” I tried to compromise. 

“A good hour drive.” He was getting more and more of an attitude. 

I lost all my breath at that moment, “I don’t want to make a wrong decision.  I couldn’t live with myself if something like that happens.  If she gets jumped it will be our fault or if she gets jailed it would be our fault.  I can’t let that happen.”

Sodapop was silent for a minute. “It’d be more of a crime for her not to know her roots.”

“We’ll always be greasers and so will she no matter how hard she tries.” I couldn’t get my head wrapped around the conversation. “We don’t have to live there forever.  When May gets older and can handle herself then sure we can come back and buy our own house here.”  

“What about Ponyboy and Darry? They need me for bills and comfort and Steve! I can’t leave my best buddy.” He protested. 

“One less mouth to feed.  You know what the best solution is and I know you want what’s best for your princess.” He was still silent.  The waitress came back to our booth and offered us two vanilla soft served.  We both took one and I tried to get back on the topic. “You can get horses.  You could start up a ranch and take care of the horses and I’ll find work somewhere and if not I’ll drive down here everyday to the Dingo.” 

After arguing for what seemed like forever he finally said, “That’s nice.”

“You know what’s funny? You always talked about fleeing town and starting over and now your completely rejecting that idea.” I said to him.

He huffed and couldn’t help but crack a smile, “Who knew? You were always the one that kept saying no.”

“We’re getting off topic.  Is it agreed because we can’t keep living in fear of what might happen?  What and when we have more kids it’d be best if they grow up knowing that they are safe.” 

“I’m a JD, a hood, I am a menace to society, but most importantly I’m a greaser and will always be a greaser and so will you and May even if it means leaving the gang for a while.”  Sodapop said with his loving wary eyes looking up at me. 

I smiled back at him and I could see the pain in his eyes.  I knew he was thinking that we would never come back to our neighborhood and slowly drift apart from them.  It’s bound to happen one day, but unfortunately I have no intentions of doing that.  It’s just temporary, right?

Soda brushed off everything we just went through and walked back to the bathrooms and inched me to trail, but he cut me off at the door only to come out swinging.  He took my hand and twirled me around in the sea of bodies.  We were all jumping and stomping along to the beat.  He was destined to have an actual date night, but it was cancelled early due to curfew. 

The gang had no idea what was coming and we didn’t know exactly how to break it to them.  We thanked them for watching May and went to bed tense, not sleeping a wink.  I could only imagine their reaction and I didn’t exactly know what to say to them, but I had to come up with something quick because a couple days later because Soda told me he found a job at a ranch up in the country.  We had five days left.   

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