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Chapter 14 – The car I saw
It had been over a year since my high school graduation. Most of my old friends had gone off to college, and even when they were in town, I didn’t see them. It didn’t matter to me. I was in my small loop of Jimmy and work and I thought that was enough. I had a plan to save my money and make a life with Jimmy. I was building something.
Every day, I took the same route to work, driving past Jimmy’s house. I wonder how many trips I had taken down those roads before I lost sight of the rest of the world. And while I was consumed by the details of my own life, what happened that made me one day lift my head and focus on the car in front of me?
I was in the left turn lane on Gordon Drive when I saw the car. Only hours earlier, I had been warm and sleepy in Jimmy’s bed and I was thinking I could still feel the heat from his body as it pressed up against my back. The car was directly in front of me, the first in line at the red light. It was an ugly beat-up brown sedan. Its fenders were covered with mud and the side mirror was held into place by duct tape. My heart jumped when I caught a glimpse of the driver in the side mirror because I was sure his eyes were focused directly on me. I looked away.
He was dirty. He had scraggly hair and a messy beard. His window was down and I could see his arm poking through the ripped elbow of his flannel work shirt. He was such a mess he could have been my age or twenty years older. When the light turned green, the brown sedan started to move and once again, the driver glanced in his side mirror. I got a clear look at his dirty face and our eyes locked. He was staring at me in surprise! Our cars were moving and I turned too, following. My heart raced. Who was this?
Seconds later, he was off in the distance and I was turning into the Springs Diner. His expression had startled me, but I shook it off. My head was full of moments like that, short little stories that went nowhere, quickly forgotten. I told myself that this was another story.
I turned up the music in my car, another one of Jimmy’s favorites and I let myself get lost in its beat. I smiled at the memory of our bodies in a tight embrace. Jimmy and I were back, I thought, back to where we were. I thought maybe Jimmy’s bed was still warm from where my body had been, where we had drifted off to sleep, feeling glad to be together and possibly the only ones up in the world, at least our small one.
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