A continuation of my story i started in august.
After we woke up, we walked the boardwalk to the beach. The surf was beautiful, and the weather was perfect to swim in. There were no clouds to be seen in the almost electric blue sky. While we were swimming, we saw dolphins way out in the water. The day started with a kind of bliss that you would think only happened in movies. After we walked back to the B&B and packed, Johnathan took me to lunch at Wendy's.
"Two chicken sandwich four for fours, please." Johnathan said to the cashier at the counter. "Next stop Helen, Georgia. You excited?"
"Pfft - Yeah. I love it there. I love rafting down the Chattahoochee river. It's a lot of fun." At this, Johnathan chuckled. "What?"
"I just thought you were more thrill seeking to be honest. The Chattahoochee isn't exactly dangerous majority of the time."
"Then you've never been on the real one. What was the longest time you spent on it?"
"Like two hours and nothing happened. I mean we got a few rapids but that was it. Why?"
"Therein lies your issue." I say holding out my hand mockingly.
"Oh, you're one to talk, in high school you were the jumpiest person I'd ever met!"
"And who's fault was that?"
"Totally not mine..." Johnathan said with a sly face.
"Ha, not yours you say. You only snuck up on me every chance you got." Then remembering, " Do you remember that one time when you were behind me and the principle came round the corner?"
"Oh yeah!" Eyes going wide, "You punched him in the gut! I remember that. He deserved it you know."
"Yeah but, I ended up getting detention for that. And lines. I still haven't let you off the hook for that."
"Oh-ho. You haven't? What are you gonna do? Beat me up?"
"I may try but, never in vain."
We walked back to the B&B laughing about things we did in the past. Once we got the bike loaded with our things, we began the next leg of our journey. Hearing the growl of the engine between our legs seems to have become a comforting sound. I haven't felt this at home in such a long time. Being home is a stranger to me now but I welcome the feeling with open arms. To me being home is feeling free. With Jonathan I feel free, I feel home.
I see the sky streak past above the trees on each side of the highway. Painted there by a master's hand, forever in my memory. I lay my cheek on the back of Jonathan's shoulder, soaking in the warmth of his skin through his shirt. When we stopped at the rest stop to eat, I took off the flannel I was wearing and I was in my black Cami, jean shorts expertly cut by my own hand, and my battered old converse all stars. After we finished eating, we were back on the road. Johnathan wanted to teach me how to drive a motorcycle and had me sit in front of him. He showed me how to do everything. I was a little rocky at first because of my nerves, but I got better the longer I drove.
As we got closer to the border, he had me switch back to the passenger seat. At one point, traffic got really bad. There was a car accident. No fatalities thankfully, but the car responsible had the most damage. As we got past that there wasn't much traffic at all because the people ahead of the crash had time to continue driving. I thought I saw a deer in the forest line, but it was only a felled sapling. Seeing the branches bare reminded me of lives taken before their time. I felt a tear slip from the corner of my eye and catch the wind. I put my cheek back against Johnathan's shoulder and let my tears fall. I watched them be soaked up by his shirt. This made me realize that I don't have to hold my pain in anymore because he is here to help me through it. I cast a thankful look to the sky with my tears still falling but not as heavy now.
"Here's the border!" I hear Johnathan yell over the engine. We drove past the big sign that marks the South Carolina - Georgia border. I started feeling a tightness in my chest and my breathing was speeding up. Johnathan must have felt it too because he pulled to the side of the road and had me sit on the ground. I was having a panic attack. All I felt was the pain in my chest and everywhere I was hurt in the crash. Last time I felt like this was in Arizona. "Deep breaths" I hear Johnathan say with the noises of screeching tires play in my head. I closed my eyes thinking it would help but all I saw was the semi's headlights. The screeching grew louder, and it felt like my chest was about to split in two. "Talk to me Jackie." I need to focus. My name is Jaqualine Richards. I have a twin brother named Luke Richards. I am 26 years old. My birthday is August 20, 1984.
"I'm okay." I say.
"What happened?" Johnathan asked me.
"I'm not sure, but something triggered my PTSD and I started having a panic attack."
"Sounds like this has happened before. Do you wanna talk about it?"
"I probably should talk about it, but it's still hard." I say with streams of tears gently falling.
"Was it from the accident?" He said it more as a statement. I nodded.
Johnathan pulled me in for a hug then helped me back onto the bike. We were on the side of the road for longer than it felt like we were. Within a few minutes of pulling away from the side of the road, it was dark. We got to the town of Helen, Georgia and stopped at the Denny's down the street from the next place we were staying. Once we got there, we were full and tired. Both of us dropped our bags in the front room and changed. I fell asleep almost instantly.