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Ah, Young Love

Mood: placid | Drinking: tea, again



In the back seat of Tiny’s red ford festiva
we sat like sardines and trembled
when our arms brushed skin that was not our own.

I remember staring out the window until my neck began to tick,
mesmerized as if everything flashing by was fascinating,
as if I had not already memorized and catalogued
every inch of Route 2 from Rockford to Sterling and back.

The car roared loud and hot with laughter, five teenagers
packed in a tin can and desperate for distraction,
driving as though the act alone was the destination.

I feigned participation and watched instead
the way the Rock River gurgled along beside us
brackish and grey and choked with spring fever.
I tried to catch the eye of a white-tailed deer
hiding in the tangle of roadside shrubs
waiting for twilight to thicken.

I kept my head to the glass to avoid
the look of our thighs pressed together
and burning, to escape the sight
of your arm next to mine,
your hand on your knee,
finger twitching.

At that moment all I wanted in the whole world
was the weight of your shoulder falling against mine
as we zoomed around a curve.

When we leaned the other way around the next turn
and my hand slipped from my lap and fell against yours,
it was not accidental.

You nearly set off a heart attack then
by crooking your pinkie finger around my thumb
as we circled through Byron and whizzed past the nuclear plant.

Bending your head to look out my window
at the twin cooling towers, your breath fell
hot against my lips and my palms grew suddenly cold
as if I knew how quickly you’d break my heart.


-Lo, who thinks that may be her only fond memory of a Ford Festiva.

(Photo credit goes to Bill Tracey, courtesy of Flickr)

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