I first drove a car when I was 14 years old. I simply turned the key, shifted into drive and was free. Until I saw a red light ahead and I stepped on the brake. The car stopped short and thrust me into the steering wheel and then I put it in park without coming to a full stop.
My cousin, Al, who was a local cop, saw me. Jumped into the car and pushed me to the passenger side of the giant couch which served as the front seats.
“What the fuck were you thinking?” He screamed.
“I thought I could-“
“You cannot, now shut the fuck up.”
Two years later I took drivers education class in order to secure my driving learners permit. I learned how to slow down and how to stop the car.
It was 1983 and the first song I heard while behind the wheel was “Night Moves” by Bob Seger, playing on the radio, WNEW 102.7,
On my birthday I got my driver’s license and off I went. My birthday is in August so I had a half of the summer ahead. Plus my parents were away on a trip for the next three weeks. The car was mine.
“She was a black haired beauty with big dark eyes, with points of her own sitting way up high…”
That was Carrie, a year older than myself and to describe her sultriness in words would take an entire encyclopedia. She was my neighbor and we had been friends forever.
She approached me with a smile. “I am so sorry I missed your birthday.” She embraced me and then looked at me, “You look like a man now.”
“I also got my driver’s license and the car for the next three weeks!”
“I have a great idea. Let me pack some stuff and we can have a picnic!”
“A birthday picnic party, just you and I.” I said hoping I didn’t overstep.
“I know just the place, no one goes there during the summer, it’s kind of secluded.” She said excitedly.
“Oh that sounds amazing.” To say I was excited would be a giant understatement.
I ran upstairs to the apartment we lived in and I grabbed my Tenax, put on some extra deodorant and changed my shirt.
Carrie was waiting downstairs when I came outside.
“Are you ready?”She asked.
“You need to do exactly as I say, do you have a problem with that?”
“No, not at all.”
She told me which way to go and I obeyed. We drove across the Rockaway Bridge and then she told me to pull over into what was a dead end street with a water view.
She led me on a 5 minute walk and then she sat down on the sand, opened up the bag she was carrying. She had a very large sheet that I helped her lay flat on the sand.
“Sit.” She said in a mock commanding way.
She sat close to me and said.
“I know you have watched me from your room.”
I was silent, I had no idea what she was talking about. Our houses were not next to each other and it was impossible for me to watch her. I mean I would’ve if I could’ve.
I sat confused and she said, “Just play along.”
“I have had the biggest crush on you for the past couple of years and you never saw me as I wanted you to. “
“On me? Why would anyone have a crush on me?”
“You are adorable and you have those broad shoulders. You are so funny and creative. I watched when you played stoop ball when you were a little kid and you were so adorable. “
“Really?” I was feeling kind of incredulous. Me, adorable? I never even thought I was cute.
She put her lips to my ear. I felt a sensation that I would be chasing for the rest of my life. Like a crack addict I was instantly addicted to the sense of her warm lips. As the day progressed I would become addicted to other parts of the female sex. Their voice, neck, chest, inner thighs…I could go on for hours.
As the waves rushed over the each other and they began to intrude on our space, we both smiled. This began our summer of a love not to forget. We spent the rest of the summer exploring the different spots to park and the different spots we could caress. We didn’t break her seal but we went pretty close and that was fine.
Like Bob sang, “And we’d steal away every chance we could
To the backroom, to the alley or the trusty woods. ” The only difference was we were in love and we hardly used each other.
Towards the end of August she began attending a local college. It must’ve been at that time she decided to slow down our relationship.
“I need to focus on my school work. I am hoping to go to medical school and I really need to have high marks…”
I was not taken aback. I had been expecting reality to bite me in the ass. I played it cool and I embraced her as she sobbed.
“We are always going to be friends.” I said.
“I hope so. We had some fun though.”
I smiled and said, “Yes and you will forever be in my heart no matter what happens. Plus, I will be looking through your window hoping to catch a glimpse. ” We laughed.
“Maybe one day.” She said and turned away.
As I walked back home, I felt a blanket of sadness overtake me. It would become my shadow which would loom on sunny days and cause internal storms.
Of course it was a cool August day on the day we parted. It set the mood well to the accompanying soundtrack in my head. Would I ever meet someone else who could make me feel like she did?
I got to my room and put on, “Blood on the Tracks” on my walkman. I closed my eyes and woke up to my Bard singing this familiar tune I would hear thousands of times.
“I’ll look for you in old Honolulu
San Francisco or Ashtabula
You’re gonna have to leave me, now I know
But I’ll see you in the sky above
In the tall grass in the ones I love
You’re gonna make me lonesome when you go’