Monday, August 4, 2008
It's strange how when you least expect it, exactly what you need to happen, happens...at least, that's how it always works for me. I got a late start to Tennessee and was probably driving between 80 and 90 the entire way, talking to my friend Clara who had just nearly escaped the hurricane in Brownsville, Texas with her four cats and her husband. After several hours, I stopped and got a fountain drink and was speeding on, when all of a sudden I came over a hill and there was three lanes of stopped traffic. For miles, all I could see was the red tail lights of semis and midnight travelers. Panicked, as I don't like being stuck on the interstate, I slid over to the far right lane and stopped, with the other cars. After twenty minutes, people starting shutting their cars off and turning their headlights off. Out of nowhere, this young kid, probably 17, comes up to my window and asks me if I know what's going on. I tell him I don't and he says he going to ask one of the truck drivers. A few minutes later, he comes back and tells me a motorcycle rider was killed and we could be there for some time. He goes back to his friends, two girls, and I can see them in my rear view mirror taking pictures and laughing. After a while, I light a cigarette and jump out of the car and walk to the edge of the road, where it drops off into some kind of dense woods. The kid and his two friends come over and start talking to me. Telling me that they just went to a fair about an hour from their home and how the one girl is going to be late to her curfew. After awhile, the two girls begin to eat Fun Dip, and tell me how the older girl, who had already graduated from high school, had met a guy that worked at the fair when it was in their town, and so they drove the distance to see him again. After several minutes of talking to these kids, it was obvious they were truly good kids, just out for a fun night of carnival rides, laughing in the backseat, taking pictures, eating fun dip and having crushes on each other. The boy looked up at the stars, which looked like they were hanging directly right over our heads and said "what a beautiful night", which it was. Stuck on the side of the road, with three kids, who didn't even realize how they were making me miss my old summers, wanting new ones and realizing the importance of this night. I asked them if I could take a picture of them, which they allowed, but I've decided not to use it, because for me and for them, I want them to always have that night, and not have it to detailed or too specific. Because I know, five or ten or twenty years down the road, where I'm at now, when they don't even talk anymore or know each other, they'll look back, just like I am, and remember it just how they want to. And that's how it should be, me looking back, remembering sitting in the back of my friend's Michelle and Margaret's station wagon, with Nicole and Jenny and Mick and Dana, singing American Pie as the summer lights speed past, all of us in sync, smiling, smoking cigarettes, drinking orange crush...at least, that's how I remember it...
Posted by The Secret Keeper at 12:46 AM