Once Jessica got outside, she asked Rodney to let her sit down for a moment. They found a bench and he helped her down. After she slid her arm off of Rodney’s shoulders and sat down, Jessica took a deep breath and looked into the clear blue sky. For a few moments she just enjoyed watching the clouds as they changed from one animal to another while she watched. Jessica tried to put together in her mind how this world could seem so real, and yet she knew that it was just a dream.
Rodney gave her the time she needed to get her bearings. He knew that she had not been in town long, having only seen her twice.
After thinking for a few moments he decided that she was well enough to hold a conversation. “So how are you liking the Medieval Period class so far?”
Jessica took a moment to realize that he was speaking. When she did she came out of her meditation slowly. “The what?” she asked before she remembered where they had just come from. “Oh right, the uh, class. It’s okay I guess.” Jessica could not figure out how, or if, she should tell him that she had never set foot in that class before today.
“Are you sure that you are alright? You seem disoriented.”
“I’m fine. Just low blood sugar.” It was the first excuse she could think of for her behavior.
“Well I guess we should get you something to eat before we go to the park.”
Jessica realized that if she refused her excuse would be exposed. She also knew that she had no money and did not want to make Rodney spend anything on her. She stood up and followed Rodney as she tried to find a solution.
They walked down the grand sidewalk entrance of the school building. Before they could see the road Jessica noticed that it was strangely quiet for such a large school. There were people walking around the campus, but no vehicles. This town must be larger that she had thought in order to have a school this large, but how students got there she could not tell.
“Is the road up ahead closed to traffic or something?” She asked.
Rodney was a little confused by her question. “No the walk is open. Why would you think it isn’t?”
Jessica figured that she must have assumed wrong and the road was elsewhere. She decided not to push her luck by asking any more questions. “Oh I don’t know. It just seemed quiet to me.”
They walked in silence for a few minutes. As they approached, Jessica began to see the wide avenue. It was like a road, but it was for pedestrians. It was more like a city park than a road. There were footpaths that, like the sidewalk were paved in a soft material like a running track. The paths meandered down the way as it encountered trees of various sizes and types. The grass was lush and green. Jessica thought of just telling Rodney that this was where she wanted to get her bearings, but she knew that food was a higher priority.
They turned down the avenue and Rodney thought that he would try one more question. “You are new to town, right?”
“You could say that.” Responded Jessica distractedly as she looked around the city.
“How do you like Dallas so far?”
Jessica was caught off guard. She had never been to Texas, but thought of it as a big, dry, flat plain with guys riding horses herding cattle. This could not be the same place. It must be a smaller town in a different place with the same name. “It is much nicer than I expected.” She finally said. This was the most honest way to say it without admitting that she had no idea where she actually was.
Rodney chuckled, “Well, what did you expect?”
Jessica was at a loss, she didn’t plan to come here, so she didn’t really expect anything from wherever she was. She couldn’t tell him her stereotypical vision of Texas, especially without knowing if that was actually where she was. “More vehicles.” She finally decided on.
“Do you walk everywhere?” asked Rodney, a little confused.
“No…” responded Jessica quizzically. “Why would you think that?”
“No reason I guess, I was just wondering why you think there are no vehicles.”
“Well where are they?” Jessica asked before remembering she did not want to sound too alien.
“How about we get some food first, and then I will show you. We can go to a bigger park further away.”
“Um…” She paused to think, “Sure, that sounds nice.” This was a larger park than any in her little town, and aside from Central Park, bigger than most in New York too.
“Well the next question is, ‘What do you want to eat?’” Rodney smiled at Jessica, “Why does that question sound so familiar?”
Jessica smiled back weakly. She was not completely at ease with Rodney yet, but she was not sure if that was him, her New Yorker paranoia, or this place that she was not comfortable with. “I don’t need much, something cheap will be fine, like a candy bar. Lots of sugar.”
“Well okay, if you are sure.” Rodney seemed a bit confused for a moment before he stopped walking. Jessica stopped and turned back. Rodney’s face echoed his question, “Cheap?” Jessica was afraid that she had offended him, and immediately started to apologize, but before she could, Rodney continued, “What is cheap?”
It was Jessica’s turn to be confused. “Um…not a lot of money.” She said as blankly as she could manage.
Rodney continued walking, “Money. I have heard of that. Some video games use it as an unlock system.”
Jessica walked just behind Rodney, wondering what type of world this place was. “Yeah, that’s right.”