The date from hell just got worse.
|First entered in the The Writer's Cramp 8/22/20
The sudden rain came as Max was taking his date home. This was a problem on many levels. One, it slowed him down. Max had been on some bad first dates in his twenty-two years, but this one was surely the all-time worst! The girl, Sheila, had never taken a breath during dinner. Just yak, yak, yak, yak, yak the whole time. All he wanted to do now was get her home as soon as possible and be rid of her.
Another reason the rain was such a problem was because, at his suggestion, they were on his motorcycle and now getting soaked through to the skin. And if this wasn’t enough, there was a third part that hadn’t happened yet, but just might, and the worry of it came to Max again and again as thunder erupted all around them and great jagged bolts of lightning lit across the sky— he had forgotten to get gas this morning.
“You sure this is safe?” Sheila screamed into his ear.
Max didn’t answer. He didn’t want to tell her no, this was nuts! They were driving a motorcycle in the pouring rain along a slick mountain road. Oh, he just remembered, his tires were bald! On good tires driving a motorcycle in the rain was a bad idea. Max rubbed his hand down his helmet’s visor to clear it and pressed on toward Sheila’s condo praying in silent mantra-style to a god he wasn’t sure existed, “Please man, please man, please man!”
Then the engine stopped. It didn’t sputter or heave or gag, it simply stopped running. They rolled to the side of the road with Sheila screaming into his ear, “What happened? Why are we stopping? Are we stopping? Why are we stopping?”
Max tried to restart the bike to no avail. He finally put the kickstand down and slid his leg out past Sheila to stand in the middle of the road and howl silently at his own stupidity. The rain sounded especially loud beating against his helmet. He looked at Sheila whose face he couldn’t see because of her helmet visor, but he could feel her eyes, and he knew they were seething.
Max walked up the road a ways to think. Here they were on a deserted mountain road with a wall of pine trees on both sides of them, no cars, no houses, no lights, save for the lone yellow headlight on his bike. He really had no idea of what to do about all this, but when another lightning streak lit up the sky directly above him, one blatant fact did stand out—they needed to get out from the middle of the road and do it quickly!
He turned back to Sheila and found her standing beside the bike with her helmet off and her cellphone to her ear. She looked like a drowned poodle. Her curly black hair was plastered against her face and mascara was a riverbed trailing down both sides of her face. Max could see a bright red bra through the thin fabric of her white, now skin-tight blouse. She looked so miserable and frightened Max had a sudden jolt of guilt.
Sheila might have been a giant bore at dinner, but she didn't deserve this.
“No signal!” she screamed. Her voice was high and shrill and angry.
“No surprise there,” Max said.
He reached for her hand but she yanked it away and he now saw she was crying. “Come on!” he shouted loudly enough to be heard. “We’ve got to get off the road!” He tried for her hand again and again she yanked it away.
“Get away from me!” she screamed and pushed hard against his chest. Max took his leather jacket off and draped it around her shoulders. She allowed this and even stepped in closer to press her face into his tee-shirt. He could feel her shivering and as he put his arms around her he suddenly wanted desperately to kiss her quivering lips.
“Come on, Sheila, let’s get out of this rain.”
They left their helmets on the bike and walked holding hands going down mountain along the side of the winding road until they found a cove in the trees which they ducked into. It was better in here. They were still getting wet but less so, and the sounds of the rain and thunder created a sort of romantic ambience.
“Are you still cold?” Max asked. He yearned to put his arm back around her shoulders.
“A little,” she said and Max held her close to him.
“Maybe we can just sit down,” he suggested. “We can’t get any wetter.”
“I guess,” said Sheila.
He brushed at the needles with his cowboy boot to clear away any puddles and sat down against a tree. Sheila sat between his blue-jeaned legs and leaned back against him. They sat this way in a comfortable silence with Max running his hands up and down her arms ostensibly in a kind gesture of trying to keep her warm, but really just to be close to this girl he had disapproved of so greatly ten minutes ago.
" Oh, I have a good idea! Let’s take my bike,” Sheila said in a quasi-low voice. “It’s a perfect night for a ride on a motorcycle!”
Max realized he was being made fun of and marveled upon hearing the husky chuckle of Sheila's laughter for his first time. He squeezed her with his legs and kissed her tentatively at first and then a good deal harder. The novelty of being hidden in the trees with the good, pungent, vibrant smells of summer rain, and the startling suddenness of a thousand angry kettle-drums erupting at once, not to mention an electric light show as stunningly beautiful as it was dangerous, made for a pretty interesting first date. Maybe the best ever.