Monday, June 05, 2006

microfiction: Date #9, With Car

[Not my best writing, but what the heck.]

   Your fingertips on the inside of my elbow makes my heart leap higher. It sounds desperate to get all excited about something so trivial, but you've been anti-contact (pro-distance in newsqueak) since I told you I wanted you. After a moment, your hand slides away, but it's a start, I think to myself. It's a step, and it's not away from me.
   Something in you is dreaming of me, I'm guessing. I've gotten lodged in your thoughts and everyday acts, and every time you see me, my hope, my desire, comes to you again. You didn't like my ideas about love, I know: too acute. I shouldn't say I can't help it, but it's true.
   The air between us vibrates, and the skin on my arm feels the echo of your touch even though we've walked fifty yards and been stopped up by a surf rat needing spare change. It's even colder than the last time we were down on the coast, and I pop open the trunk and shake out my spare jacket.
   "Say, can I drive back?" I mentally count glasses. "I've never driven an MG before," you explain. I toss you the keys and we slide in.
   I reach across your knees and pull out the choke, which you're probably not familiar with. "After the engine warms up you pop it back in again. If you're going up a serious hill, take it out halfway."
   We get onto Highway 17, a road with good twists and banks. Cautious handling soon gives way to sensing its edges and limits. Your smile shines in the opposing headlights. The newish tires make me unworried, but I'm suddenly conscious of how noisy this car is. Time creeps up on all of us, I suppose. "What's a choke for, anyway?"
   "It puts more fuel in the fuel-air mix. The modern version is fuel injection, but I think that only works for startup. Otherwise, you can't control it." We're starting up the long hill before the summit. "Put that out, you'll feel a difference."
   The engine's pitch changes, and you nod approvingly. "How long have you had this thing?"
   "God, forever. It was my first car and already as old as I was. Impractical as hell, but I was crazy about sports cars then, had to have one." Not entirely true, and we won't mention a fifteen-year old car was all I could afford. "And even though English cars are supposed to be finicky, this one hasn't been bad at all."
   "Sort of the opposite of a lemon."
   "Yeah. It takes some fiddling but it's been just amazingly reliable."
   "A limey lime. They should have issued a recall so they could make it a normal English car, huh?"
   "Ha! So that's what that letter was all about."
   We continue in this vein, talking nothing in particular, a little work, a little politics. Traffic is good; it's late, but not yet time for drunks to kick loose. In the glove box I find a stale pack with four, and smoke one. "My driving bother you?"
   "No, I just need something to do with my hands. The usual thing." Keeps me from touching your leg, I think, smiling inside. The miles fly by and we're in Palo Alto, then San Carlos. "Wave to Rogelio."
   "Hi Rogelio." To him we'd be a tiny dot on the freeway far down the hill. He sees me every day, you once a week or two, but he has no idea I'm in love with you.
   Now it's Foster City, a series of artificial islands originally for catamaran lovers, not so exclusive now. You cross canal bridges and curve along a shore road until we pull into your condo's guest parking. I touch my arm to remind me of the tingle, and shoot out psychic commands: ask me up. It's your prerogative, and while for some women, being nudged tells them how desirable they are, you're not so needy. I'm pretty sure you'll tell me yes or no soon enough, and though it's not easy I know badgering you won't make me more attractive.
   A turn of the key and it's suddenly quiet. "You probably couldn't imagine getting rid of this, could you."
   "Oh, not yet. What, you want to buy it?"
   "Fun, but it rattles too much," you smile. "Besides, I'm not enough of a mechanic."
   "I'm not one either. I change the oil and stuff, but –"
   "Ah, right there, you're a mechanic compared to me." You unlatch the door, and I know I'm going home.
   "Have a good night," I say automatically. But my left hand moves involuntarily, touches the far side of your neck. Kissing you is like tasting all my favorite spices, like a springtime desert wind on my face, like the clean shape of a new feather. When I open my eyes your hands are in my hair and you're smiling a bit devilishly. I relax. Someday's coming soon.

1 comment:

Sugarpott said...

wow...thats really good