I've got to ride, ride like the wind to be free again.
He liked to make her laugh by mimicking the wind on his dashboard as he drove her home. Laugh, she did. Because she straddled the fence between geek and dork and because he was a handsome and popular jock, she relished the idea that he was flirting with her. Her! And he was offering her rides home. In his car. Not his dad’s car or his mom’s car but his little hotrod, a car featured in all teen angst movies as the model driven by handsome jocks. And she was riding in it.
It shouldn’t have meant what it did to her but she had been mostly ignored in the dating department. Her face had not yet grown into her large features and socially, she was awkward, wanting to debate whether Medea was the villain Euripedes portrayed her to be or whether she was misunderstood and had been driven mad by a fortune-and-younger-bride-seeking Jason. Most of her fellow students didn’t “get” her and, truth be told, she often did not get herself.
But she was in his car! With the windows down and the breeze blowing her hair just like in the movies! And they were listening to Christopher Cross and he was doing that little thing with his hands down the dashboard to make her laugh. And she laughed. And he walked her into her house and played pinball with her. And her mother stayed in bed where she typically spent her days until the girl’s father got home, leaving the two of them alone.
And she felt a little more accepted than she had just thirty minutes before.
It was toward the end of her junior year of high school, his senior year. Prom was coming up (no one asked her) as was his graduation and summertime. He drove her home a few times a week and they talked and laughed, though never deeply and never fully. He may have been using her but she did not know it, still does not know it.
As far as prom went, he and his best friend decided to go together, a couple of stags. Even though this was Oklahoma, second only to Texas in the homophobia wars, their antics were accepted because; hey, they were handsome and popular jocks, not pansy ass sissy boys. He did ask her where she would be on his prom night and she did tell him that she and a girlfriend were going to a kegger and then home. Her parents were out of town that weekend, you know.
He showed up at her front door late, perhaps midnight. Her memories are foggy and she had had a lot of beer at the party. What was she doing when he arrived? Watching tv with her girlfriend? Gossiping? Her memory has faded and she just remembers him being there and then she was kissing him and walking to her bedroom with him, virgin though she was. His friend had come along, too; and, at that moment, was making out with her friend on the sofa and doesn’t everyone deserve privacy now and then? Don’t they?
Kissing and kissing, leaning against her bed and then on her bed. Shirt tails came untucked, bra straps were lowered, eyes were released from their hooks. And then the words, “Let’s shuck these pants.”
Years later, she would recall these words and laugh at his choosing them but now she was excited and wanting. The beer and lust made her pliant and uninhibited and she nodded, unsure whether he knew she had not done this before. Did she tell him? The fog and beer have kept the memory hidden; she doesn’t know but she thinks so.
God, it hurt and it felt good; it left her breathless and confused, knowing but still unsure of what had just happened, unsettled over how it would affect her/their future. And then he was gone, leaving behind a soon-to-be-hungover high school junior and his wallet. She left behind the physical evidence of what losing one’s virginity entails for a female and spent a large part of the next day attempting to remove it from her mattress.
Sometime during her cleaning, he came back. Eyes not meeting hers, he asked for his wallet and left, without kissing her or mentioning what they had shared. To this day, this is the last time she remembers seeing him.
She knows she must have seen him again. After all, the prom pictures made the yearbook and he signed it, too; writing something about her having fun at prom, prom being underlined. She knows she did not see him once his senior year was over.
Only recently did she find him, not that she searched all this time, just that she kept her ears and eyes alert since the classmates.com and Facebook era. Beyond the casual how-ya-beens, they haven’t corresponded and she doubts they will. Seriously? It’s been thirty years. The statute of limitations ran out long ago.
By the way, she decided to side with Medea.