“I can’t believe she told me that!”
“You weren’t supposed to find out this way.”
“I can’t believe that this is real. And you of all people. How could you look me in the face, and not tell me?!”
“All I can say is that . . . . I’m sorry.”
“You can say you are sorry all day, but that doesn’t mean I can now stand to look you in the eyes”. I look him in the eyes for the last time before leaving to go home. I hope to myself that I could just go home, and nothing had ever happened, but that reality isn’t this real.
“Sorry dude. Sorry I don’t feel bad”. I step back as he lunges his fist at me. Once. Twice. Until he falls to his knees and starts crying. His blonde hair falling over his hands that are over his eyes. I know I should feel bad, but I don’t. I feel free. I walk out of the bar and rush out to my car. The rain runs down the roof of the bar as a wave of water. The ping of each drop increases in pace the closer I get to my car. I reach to my pocket to grab the key and insert it into the door.
“You liar you wanted me to know about your hellish affair! I thought we were friends! Did that mean nothing to you ?!” I look at that broken man, and can only see the boy that I grew up with, the tears coming from his eyes almost indistinguishable from the pouring rain. I almost feel bad until I think about what he has done to Jessica. I turn back to the car and step in. I sit there in the chilled wet air. I put my head to the steering wheel praying that my car turns on and that I can leave.
I turn the key and I listen to the starter go, and then finally it starts. I give the car a second to warm up before we start driving. Until I see Jim across from us with tears in his eyes in his Dodge Hellcat. The headlights burn a hole in my soul. I hear him revving his engine almost bumper to bumper with my car. I slowly shift into reverse for him not to hear it. I don’t know why I think he would hear he is a broken man blinded with rage. I floor my car and fly out of my parking spot. I hear Jim screaming in his car. The roar of his engine raises my hair on my neck, and I know what is going to happen.
I’m in my early 1990’s mustang, and I’m lucky it even starts after what Jim did to it before he gave it to me. Jim used to drive this old car in high school, and mind me I’m in my early 30’s. That was an amazing summer. I rode in this junk car with him over that whole summer. He would talk about his girl problems, and I would pretend like I could understand what he was talking about. I had never even had a girlfriend, but I would give advice to him. Even when he started dating Jessica. Even when he knew I liked her, and when he asked if I was ok with that I said, “That’s ok.”
It was the summer that we bonded and became friends, and we were close until he got out of college and became a traveling insurance agent.
“Traitor!” I hear from the window of that machine of death that Jim drove like it was his stead, and would ride over to me to enforce justice upon what I did to him. I leave the bar parking lot struggling to see, but I floor that car to get away from Jim. Jim with no regard for oncoming traffic swerves into traffic. His tires squeal as his red led lights light up the night. I look at my speedometer and can’t make out the speed due to the red reflection off the cheap plastic. I make a turn off the main road and the night settles back in darkening the car again. My heart slows back down.
I think about how I should have just fixed Jessica’s computer. Why would I stay for dinner? I almost hit an innocent puppy, but I swerved out of the way. I think about how confused the children looked when they saw me over to their home without their dad there. The almost baby said, “Mommy, why is uncle James over without daddy?”
“Uncle Jim is my savior, helper, and my knight in shining armour to help me fix my computer. He is here, because your father is never home to help me! He thinks I want to live in a big expensive home? I want to have a husband, not a pile of money!”
I turned another corner of the road. It was dark and didn’t have any lights, so I drove on with my high beams turned on. As I get closer to the driveway leading to my lovers house my car gets filled with a red hue as if I was being teleported to hell.
The roar of Jim’s engine fills the night picking up so much speed it was a rocket ship. We lock eyes as his car fills my passenger side seat, and we both fling into the ditch cars hooked together for the rest of our lives. Our eyes never break from being locked together, but we both couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, and couldn’t stop hearing the scream of Jessica in the distance.
The red led lights faded away to the light of the fire engulfing the two cars, but that’s ok.