He watched them fly by him at speeds he didn’t dare match but wished he could and wondered what their story was. A man and a woman on a motorcycle, her arms wrapped around his waist, wisps of long dark hair hanging outside of her helmet.
Traffic wasn’t an impediment and apparently neither was fear of being laid out on the highway or sent off the road into the desert. He was looking into his rear view mirror when he spotted them weaving in and out of the lanes and cars.
Hadn’t taken more than a few moments for them to pull along side and shoot past him but they had been there long enough to make him remember, wonder and think
“We need a code or sign for when we want to do it. Something we can share so we know when to leave a party and go back to your apartment.”
He smiled at her and said she should be careful what she wished for because she might get it.
“I don’t know about who you dated before me, but I won’t ever say no and you are the one who should be careful. I don’t have your refractory period.
“Look who is using big words. I think I am going to wear you out.”
“Men are clueless. You all think you are the greatest lovers ever and act so surprised when women make it clear that we like sex as much as you do. We just don’t brag about it like you guys do, we have more class.”
He was about to respond when he saw the twinkle in her eye and recognized she was teasing him.
“Maybe I should just grab your hips and then you’ll know I want to leave.”
She rolled her eyes at him, “I told you men are clueless. You grab my hips and every woman will know exactly what you want and exactly where we are going.”
“Why do you care what they know or think they know?”
“Because there is a difference between knowing and wondering. I don’t care what they think but I would rather keep them out of our business. They don’t need to know what they are doing.”
This time he rolled his eyes.
“Are you seriously trying to tell me you haven’t told your friends about us. You may think I am clueless, but I am not. I don’t believe for a moment your girlfriends haven’t heard about our dates and details about what we do in bed.”
She giggled, “they might know a few things but you shouldn’t worry about that.”
He began to protest but she covered his lips with hers and told him she was certain she could make it up to him. He smiled and she led him to her bedroom. It was Thanksgiving break and it was one of of the few times her place was quiet.
There were six girls sharing that apartment and in spite of her protests he was convinced they knew more about him than he liked.
Some of that was because two weeks ago her roommate had walked in on them. She had quickly apologized and walked back out but now every time she saw him she would smile and bark or ask him if needed a Milkbone.
When he asked his girlfriend if she knew anything about it she just laughed and told him he should take it as a compliment. He had tried to be cool about it and smiled but he was embarrassed and afraid to tell her why.
So even though she told him that they had the place all to themselves tonight he couldn’t quite relax. His nervousness began by translating into an ability to the raise the flag.
It was the first time that had ever happened to him. She told him to relax and said she was certain she could help him. Eventually her help fixed his problem but he couldn’t stop thinking about it so when they got down to business he started pumping like he was being chased by the devil.
Moments later he told her he loved her and collapsed.
Two hours later he woke up naked in her bed…alone.
When he walked into the living room she was reading a book. It took him a few minutes to realize she was angry and then even longer to recognize she was angry with him.
That just upset her more and so he walked home wondering why they had only done it once when they had the place to themselves.
Years later he would think about that moment and smile because that was the fight that led to them not talking for a week but it was also the one that made him realize he loved her, so he figured it had multiple benefits.
Three nights earlier they sat next to each other at their farewell dinner. Knees touching they talked about the future and the past and wondered how life could play so many games.
After graduation they had planned on moving in together and getting married. She told him she wanted to be pregnant around 28 or 29 with their first and then space out the next two or three with a few years in between each. He laughed and told her you couldn’t plan everything in life and she agreed but maintained that wasn’t true for everything.
“Some things can and should be planned.”
He knew better than to argue the point and didn’t, but part of it was because he didn’t care and he figured it was easier to just nod his head and go along.
They split a bottle of wine and then climbed into bed. She laughed and apologized for wearing sweat pants but told him she had shaved her legs so all was not lost.
“Let me see.”
She smiled as he pulled them off of her and ran his hands up and down.
“I am not going to be the only naked person in this bed, you better take those shorts off right now.”
He saluted and said “Yes ma’am!”
She looked him up and down and as she told him it looked like someone was happy to see her she smiled.
When he climbed on top of her she laughed and said her head was spinning and then asked him to get a condom.
“Hang on a minute I love feeling you without one.”
“Baby, this isn’t a good idea. I want to have your baby, but not now. Go get a condom and you can have me any way you want.”
Suddenly he grabbed her shoulders and started pumping hard and just suddenly he groaned and collapsed on top of her.”
“Did you just cum inside of me? What the hell. Baby, I told you to get a condom! What are we going to do if I am pregnant?”
“I don’t think you’ll get pregnant like this.”
He knew she would go off after that and she did. He listened to her lecture him about how stupid an answer that was and how he couldn’t say that. She knew her mother had gotten pregnant quickly which meant there was a good chance it could happen for her too.
“If I am pregnant we’ll get married sooner. Right?”
The question caught him completely off guard. Looking back he understood why that made her sad and angry but at the time neither had been his intention.
“Um, I guess” was all he could say.
She told him to get out and said they were done.
Weeks later he received a note saying she wasn’t pregnant and nothing more.
He wasn’t sure if was relieved or not. She had refused to talk to him since that night. She wouldn’t take his call or respond to any of his letters and the few times he had shown up at her apartment her roommates had told him to go away.
One time he had reached out to her friend Martha and asked for help but not much had come of that. Martha had told him she still loved him but that she was hurt and suggested he give her time.
So he tried Martha’s approach and all that came from it was the note that she wasn’t pregnant. A month afterwards he saw her at the student union talking to a bunch of people.
He walked up said hi and she hi back. She didn’t tell him to go away but she didn’t try to engage him so he decided to wait and see what happened.
A few minutes later a guy with blue eyes and blond hair walked up and started talking to her. She smiled at the blond and starting talking to him.
That was all it took. He walked up to the blond guy and told him to “fuck off!”
The blond guy had enough time to say “fuck you” back but not enough to see the fist that came flying at him. He hit the ground and curled up in a ball.
“You stupid asshole! Why did you hit him?”
He was too angry to respond so he walked away and made a point not to look back. Later that night he was surprised to get a telephone call from Martha.
“It is not my business but you made things a lot harder on yourself. I have never seen her more upset. She loved you more than any other guy I have seen her with, but your temper just got your into trouble. You should apologize and if you can fix it.”
That was too much so he screamed at Martha, “she can fuck whomever she wants now. I am done.”
“You are an idiot. She is not sleeping with anyone.”
“How long will you be gone and when can you come back? This is so unfair. I don’t understand how after all this time life can bring us back together and pull us apart again.”
“I have spent the better part of the last seven years trying to get a project like this. It is the kind of thing a career can be made on. This is the next big step, but I promise I will be back as soon as I can.”
She looked at him and smiled, “I know baby, but it hurts. I can’t believe we got a second chance and this happened. What are we going to do?”
It was the kind of question he never expected he would have to answer, especially not from her. Twenty years ago he expected she would be his wife and the of his children.
Instead they had married other people and built lives apart.
Now they were both parents and both separated from their spouses. Neither of them had planned on this. They had bumped into each other at a reunion and spent time talking but for a long time nothing had happened.
She had told him she didn’t know what she was going to do about her marriage. She wasn’t in love with her husband any more but she didn’t want to hurt her children by splitting up the family.
For a long time they didn’t much contact and what little they did made it clear to him that romance wasn’t a question. So he never did anything, never said he thought she looked great or mentioned any interest in her.
One night they ran into each other at the grocery store and then he did something that surprised them both.
He put his hands on her hips and slipped by her.
It felt relatively innocuous. His body didn’t touch her, but static electricity between his fingers and her body created a little shock and they both jumped.
“See, after all these years I can still make you squirm.”
It was supposed to be a joke but instead of laughing she said, “we should find out.”
And then they crossed all of the lines and colored outside of the boxes.
When she hugged and kissed him goodbye at their farewell dinner she told him she believed this could be their time. He smiled and said if she held his hand he was certain they could.
He told her again he had never stopped loving her and asked her if he sounded like an idiot. She said no and said she hadn’t stopped loving him either.
And then he packed up his stuff and drove off to take on the big dream of his career. This was going to be the moment where he began to really prepare for the future, for the life he didn’t just want but needed.
This was going to be it. He felt good and was certain that she would be a part of it. It was funny how life worked.
As he sat there trying to figure out what made him think about it all he realized that he had been looking at the woman on the motorcycle, there was something about the way she looked straddling the bike, bent over at the waist that reminded him of “his girl.”
That made him smile again. He thought she would be pleased to hear he thought she looked like a girl who was probably twenty-something.
Their first time back together she had asked him what he thought and when he told her nothing had changed she had laughed. “You don’t have to lie to me to get lucky, I am going to sleep with you regardless of what you say. Remember we like sex as much as you guys do and grown women don’t have to play games about it.”
“Well then, I am going to have you in every position. I just have to decide how I want to start.”
She laughed again.
“Men never change. You are not 2o any more but if you can keep up I suppose we can try whatever you want.”
He saw the twinkle in her eye and for a moment the years blurred.
“Before we start I just want to tell you I love you.”
That caught her off guard.
“I love you too.”
Ninety days ago she told him she decided it was too hard and that she was going to try to work things out with her husband. He told her understood but didn’t say a word about how hard it was or how it crushed him.
For a couple of days he moped around and wondered how things had been turned upside down and inside out. He felt stupid, how could she break his heart…again.
But then he thought about how unexpected it had been and figured if lightning could strike twice there was no reason why it couldn’t strike a third time. And the truth was that he was living in a different city and that until he moved back home there was no reason to be upset about it.
That made him feel better and even though the rational part of him said it sounded ridiculous he figured there was nothing wrong in believing it to be true.
And then one day he was going through his garage and her picture fell out of a box.
She was standing with her back to the camera, head turned around smiling at the photographer. She had signed the back, “come grab my hips.”
He smiled, kissed the picture and said “I hope you felt that. One day I will.”