Summer 17 (Ch. 3)

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Summer 17 (Ch. 3)

Post by B.D.__Wether on Sun Feb 06, 2011 5:45 pm

~ Chapter 3 ~

It was dark by the time I arrived in Maine later that night. I was tired of planes, terminals, and the little boy and his mother in the row behind me. I swore I’d never have children as long as I lived after that. I wanted to get the free feeling I came for, but I only received guilt as three ton weights on my shoulders and eyelids.
Diana and I went had gone to dinner at some Thai restaurant, and then searched on face book for pictures of her boyfriend, Kyle, before I hopped my plane. Now I just wanted to get in my rental car and head for the hills. I didn’t know where I was going to stay, probably a hotel, but I couldn’t imagine doing it.
I made my way to the rent service, where they directed me to a beat up Volvo. Checking the car’s clock, which was pointing perfectly on eight-thirty, I groaned. I’d be there by nine. Maybe I could sleep in the car.
I soon learned, though, that this would be a far worse scenario; the stereo was burnt out, the overhead mirror was cracked, the lights blinked, the seats had rips up the seams and the whole thing smelled like someone had died in it and the funeral home tried covering it up with five million gallons of new car smell. This was going to be a long hour.
Halfway into the trip, the right blinker refused to work. I wanted to kill myself as I braked too quickly at an intersection and almost ripped my forehead open on the steering wheel. darn.
Finally, I got the radio on a station. It was classic piano and orchestra, but I didn’t care. I couldn’t live without entertainment. Certainly couldn’t do it on my own.
Forty-five minutes later, I realized I’d taken the wrong turn at the intersection, and got completely lost. I stopped at a parking lot a police officer was sitting around in and asked him for directions. When he checked his watch confused, it read ten-fifteen. He directed me in the right direction with a look like he was trying to remember my face if he needed to later. Half an hour later, I found my exit.
Here, my eyelids began to sag; the weight was heavier. I tried to sit up straighter and widen my eyes, but only the drowsier I became. I remembered in a movie a woman had widened her eyes and turned all the lights on in the car to stay awake. I tried, but only it made it harder to see out into the darkness.
I sat in silence; slowly my eyes began to fall. They felt hot all over; my head was a thousand pounds. The occasional lights from a random house to the side of the road would expose my stealthily closing eyes, but soon it made no difference. I kept having visions of a nice soft pillow, warm bed, snug sheets…
No! “Oh my God!” I screamed, yanking my head up violently. Pain seared through my skull. I’d been asleep. How long? I squinted desperately. It had become so dark. Suddenly my brain sputtered and died. I had switched the lights off accidentally when my hands fell off the wheel.
“Oh, no, oh my… God! Oh my God…” I sobbed tearlessly. Clumsy fingers flailed and grabbed crazily at the dash and behind the wheel, searching for the switch, who’s location I had suddenly forgotten. Twisting my thumb wrong, the beams switched on when I grabbed the wheel idiotically with my free and non-hurting hand. I swerved off the road in a panic.
The borrowed car and I flew at a tree. Horrified, I grabbed the steering wheel and this time with two hands, yanked as hard as I could the other way, back to the road. But it only resulted in a slide. We nearly missed the first tree, but another only emerged in the headlights in my blurred vision. I slammed my foot down on the pedal. The wrong pedal.

* O O *

I sat next to that stump for a long time. I stared at it, no admired it. It was short and stumpy, as they usually are. Thin ridges ran up and down its length. At the base the roots were gnarled and showing, but firmly in place. The top was splintered and sharp, but weathered. I bet it had seen quite a few car crashes.
When finally I calmed, I had slipped out the driver’s seat to escape the air bag and the faint wheeze of the air slowly letting out. I sank to the ground, sputtering nonsense that I thought was stuff from driver’s ed, but my reprimanding quickly turned to babble and I stopped. The headlights shined lightly in the corner of my eyes, but they were blank. Some sort of liquid dripped down the trunk of the unfortunate tree, down the bumper and into the soil. One light was out actually, but the other was shining brightly on my friend the stump. I think it was angry. I couldn’t blame it. I wouldn’t want to be crashed into either.
Suddenly, though, there was a dizzy feeling in me, and I knew the Sour Patch Kids and Thai were coming back. I swung around and deposited my unhappy stomach in the woods. The bitter sensation lingered in my mouth for a while. I wanted to brush my teeth.
I shoveled dirt over the lump with my hands and scooted away, disgusted with myself. I cried, felt badly for myself. Then I was mad. I don’t know why, but I wanted to hurl things around like Lyn did when she was a baby. But I just sat and pouted. This was supposed to be a fun summer. Then I just stared out into nowhere.
Across the road, the stars blinked at me. It was probably eleven thirty. It was so dark; so many stars. The Big Dipper, Milky Way. Dad had shown them to me so many years ago. Suddenly, it seemed as if it were getting lighter. Then, I realized, it was. I blinked. Maybe it was later than I thought…? I looked up. Steadier now. I gasped. Was I passing out?
I jumped up. Brighter. I twirled and stopped. No good; it only made me want to throw up again. I ran in the road when I heard it; yes, a car.
I sat dumbly there for a while, waiting for the car to turn the corner. It shot out of the darkness. The lights blared in my face, and my hand swept instinctively to my brow. A pickup truck.
“Hey!” I screamed, waving my arms desperately. I realized how crazy I must look, but it didn’t click in my brain that I was going to be hit. “Stop! Please stop!” my voice cracked. Suddenly I was noticed, and the sound of tires screeching on pavement cut the air.
I stood gazing into the headlights, mouth agape, letting the blood from my face tickle into my teeth. There were no noises for a while, just me and the mysterious car in a staring match. I won. The door creaked open slowly and unsurely, and then the driver stepped out.
“Oh, no, I’m sorry,” I sobbed. My brain ran without caution, things sputtering out my mouth nervously. I tried to block the blare of the lights by covering my head, but my arms didn’t catch the idea. “I was just… sorry about… but I broke the bumper… grill, I mean…and I… sorry, it won’t work.” I frowned. Was I still speaking English? I’d read that when you were scared enough you started speaking different languages. Or maybe that was only if you spoke two languages…? I tapped my forehead to explain. The figure nodded.
“Mm. Seems so, huh?” the strangely deep voice. It was sweet and flat. But it was packed with something Jake had made familiar; sarcasm. “Looks like you need help?” he nodded to where I was in the center of the road; I’d been flailing my arms and screaming not too long ago.
I was silent. I had been convinced my savior would have been a giant careless trucker or a crazy cat lady; maybe one with a loud accent.
“No, I’m fine. Thanks for stopping though…” I blurted, suddenly afraid. I didn’t want to see his face. I didn’t want to catch a ride anymore, but I knew I was wrong. I stepped back as he stepped foreword, glancing the car over, then back at me. His expression was dubious.
“I don’t see how that can be true,” he was searching my face now, which he could see perfectly in the lights.

* O O *


For the next half hour we, meaning a complete stranger I had met not more than ten minutes ago and a very bloody me, fought over how I was going to get shelter and help. He offered running me to the hospital, or more over calling the hospital, but I wouldn’t let him. He didn’t have a phone on him but he didn’t want to leave me here, so why not take a ride to the hospital anyway? But wasn’t this what abductors did? Ask you to take a ride with them and then… But come on. Just because I was bleeding and dizzy, I wasn’t about to fall for his little tricks and hop right in his car. I mean, really.
He inspected my car like he knew what he was looking for. I had always laughed at the guys on the side of the road who’d run their cars into the ground and stood there with the hood open wide, a fake expression of intelligence in eye. It occurred to me that maybe I was being slightly bitchy and maybe he really knew what he was doing, but I pitched the idea quickly.
He told me that the car was almost totaled, but I had been too close to the tree to accelerate enough, and only smashed it half as bad as I could have. Thanks.
I sat to the side and watched him. I made sure not to look him in the eyes. I’m not sure why, but it seemed like I was supposed to do that. I convinced him that I was fine and definitely wasn’t hurting anywhere, even though my temple was pounding like crazy and my jawbone was about to fall off. I examined my shoes and hands with intensity, planning to fool him into thinking I was a doctor and was checking for breaks. I doubt I was convincing. Finally he looked up.
“You should go to the hospital,” he concluded irritably.
“No, I’m fine.” I snapped, “Believe me.” His eyebrow shot up.
“Mmm. Yeah,”
“I know these things,” I growled, searching my index finger with greater interest. His eyes were hard on me, and I met his eyes stubbornly.
For what seemed like a long time, our eyes locked. I wanted to look away, but couldn’t handle the thought of it. Because his hood was tugged half over his head, I couldn’t make out his hair. The lights from his truck provided more than enough light to expose his face though. Bright green eyes frowned amusedly back, his expression bent in concern and exhaustion. When he was standing, he was about five-eleven, but I couldn’t really tell. He was sitting back on his heels relaxed, like he always inspected people’s cars on the side of the road at midnight. His mouth hung ever so slightly open, exposing two front teeth, white as hell. Heaven, or whatever. His hand had some sort of black stuff on it, probably grease, and the other held his flashlight. His grey sweatshirt seemed to droop with his expression; bored. Or maybe he was tired. He suddenly frowned and flashed the light toward my face. Judging all these things and comparing him with the guys I knew, I guessed he was about my age, maybe a couple years younger. For some reason, with his front teeth showing and the cocky taunt in his eyes, he looked startlingly, painfully younger than myself.
“Are you OK?” He asked nervously, grating his teeth. Thankful for the darkness, I blushed. Apparently, I had stared.
“Y-yes… no,” I choked. These words sprang my brain’s gears awake. They flew and clicked and suddenly I really realized I was in the middle of nowhere, sitting on the edge of the road with a stranger. I had crashed my car into a tree falling asleep at the wheel, and I couldn’t have my parents because one was in Tibet and the other was hopefully in heaven. I didn’t have a place to stay or any food to eat, and for all I know, if this stranger hadn’t come along I don’t know what I would have done. Crawled along the road until I came to a gas station…?
But then, why was I here? I was looking for someone, Andy, right? Who was this savior of mine, was he a savior really? Had I been speaking in English? I seemed to be more confused the more I spoke, and frustrated tears blurred the guy’s face in front of me. I let out one choke, a dribbling tear, and I was a waterfall from there.


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B.D.__Wether
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