The Ride

It was Monday morning about 10 minutes before the bell rang. The class had the sleepy silence appropriate for the time of day. I was opening my attendance files, wondering as usual why the school’s internet service was so slow if they wanted us to take attendance online.

I’m not exactly sure when I started listening – no, felt compelled to listen. I tried not to, but the young girl was just so sweetly, nonchalantly genuine. Allowing herself to be completely open and vulnerable to her friend, she told the story of a ride in her hoped to be new boyfriend’s car.

I was slowly drawn in, against my will, allowing the words to softly filter into my mind as I drifted. Mentally, I was now in the car. I was the young girl. I remembered the boy who took me for an innocent ride in his car, lifetimes ago when I was a different person and life was new, all decisions unmade. Life was still free flowing, not fixed as it seems now. I kept my eyes focused on my laptop so they wouldn’t know I was living their story.

“We drove around for hours, just talking. There were no awkward moments, well just when he asked me about Jack,” she said.

“He asked you about Jack? You don’t ask about someone’s ex,” her friend said.

Her friend, a tall, lanky boy with braces, was mildly shocked in that particular teenage way. Anything that does not conform to their strict, yet unspoken codes of behavior is surprising in a how-could-you-not-know-that sort of way.

“Yeah, well it was only because they were on the soccer team together when we broke up, so I guess he wanted to clear any rumors he heard. I think he just wanted to hear my side of the story,” she said.

“You don’t ask about someone’s ex on the first date,” he said indignantly.

His protectiveness and exaggerated sense of loyalty made me wonder if he didn’t have a secret desire to be more than friends with her. But to stay friends he would need to keep his feelings buried.

“It wasn’t a first date. We were just checking each other out. We just talked. It was really nice. We drove all the way to Morgan Hill before we realized.”

This is actually only a distance of about eleven miles, but when you’re seventeen that’s a long attention.

“And then we turned around and came back. When we got to my house, we sat in the car and talked for another twenty minutes. It was just really nice, comfortable with no awkward moments.”

“That’s it? That’s all?”

“Yeah, that’s all. What did you expect?” she said.

“Why do I feel like there’s more that you’re not telling me?”

“I don’t know.”

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