There would be no phone for me to keep in contact with Wilson, but he told me he'd come up and visit in a couple of days.
The first night went all right. The next day, I helped Wanda into my wagon and we went for a drive. We ran into her cousins down on the Avenue. Climbing into the car, they asked if we'd drop them off at a bar down the road. One thing led to another, and we stopped at a couple of bars.
I usually never drank at all, let alone with Wilson's relatives. I am still not sure why I did this time.
Maybe because it was Indian summer and the weather was great.
Maybe because I felt it was my job to take Wanda where she wanted to go and who was I to tell her what she could or could not do?
But more likely, it was because it was exciting for me to be away from Wilson and with people that just wanted to have fun. So I had a couple of drinks with them.
"I always wanted to be like Wilson," Verlin, one of the cousins, proclaimed to me over his beer, "Ever since I was a little kid watching him and Dan Hunter drinking with my ma in our kitchen, I always wanted to be like him."
Outside of the second bar, while transferring Wanda from the car to the wheelchair, I misjudged and almost dropped the chair backward with Wanda in it. I decided that I shouldn't drive and asked Verlin to. I didn't drink anymore that evening.
Eventually we found ourselves back at Wanda's. Somewhere along the line, a couple of girls none of us really knew had joined our group. As everyone sat in the living room laughing and drinking, the new girls, one skinny with straggly, sandy-colored hair and the other heavier and more Indian looking, tried to snag on Wilson's nephews.
As their partying progressed into the night, I became bored and went in to the bedroom to read. But that didn't help.
Restless, I returned to the main room and sat down. I don't remember saying anything; I don't think I even had time to. I wasn't seated but a moment when suddenly, the skinny girl with straggly hair jumped up and came at me. In her right fist was a knife. It happened so fast I had no time to think beyond, "Oh my God, what do I do?"
She was just a couple of feet away, ready to lunge, when Wilson, Pam, and Pam's boyfriend came in the kitchen door. Wilson took one look at what was happening and he and Pam’s boyfriend chased the girl out the living room door.
Everyone else in the room stayed where they were, guffawing to each other about what just happened. Still in shock, I neither heard what they were saying or cared. After what seemed just a moment, Wilson came back in.
"The girl must have been stoned, because both of us together couldn't get her down," said Wilson, "we hit her over the head with a 2X4 and she was still standing."
They didn't know where she went. She'd run off somewhere behind the houses.
I left with Wilson then. As we stood with Pam and her boyfriend outside by our car, Wilson asked me what had happened. I started to tell him, but to my embarrassment, began to cry. My whole body, tense as a rock until that moment, was now crumbling. What might have happened had Wilson not come in when he did?
But I knew it wasn't okay to cry, especially with Pam watching, so I stopped.