She blamed it on the radio. It hadn’t picked up a reliable signal all morning until an hour ago when an old favorite crackled through the speakers. At the time she was more than thankful…the drive had become monotonous, more lonely than she had imagined, and she had begun to have second thoughts. Then the song came on and it was fun again, and then another, and before long Susanna was singing along and had forgotten all about being lonely and any doubts she might have had. In fact, she hadn’t noticed much of anything in the past hour…not the road signs, not the last city she passed through, and certainly not the gas gauge. It wasn’t until her car lurched for the second time that Susanna realized she might be in trouble. The car shuddered and slowed and finally drifted to a stop along the side of road. Unfortunately, she had no idea which road. It was time to put on those big girl panties and assess the situation.
That’s what her mother had always said…pull up your big girl panties and figure it out. Her mother also said it was easier to ask for forgiveness than permission and that’s why Susanna had left home early this morning without telling anyone. She didn’t have a plan; she only knew that she was bored. Bored with school and life and tired of being the only one of her friends who didn’t seem to know what she wanted to do. Her parents had been patient but it was clear that their patience was running out and they expected her to choose a direction and get on with life — make something of it. They loved her, and she knew that, but she also knew they worried. She didn’t think they would understand her need to see more of the world before making any kind of decisions about the life she wanted for herself. And that’s why, early this morning, after a long and sleepless night, Susanna had packed a bag and set off to find…what, exactly, she didn’t know. Life, she guessed. Excitement. Something to reassure her that there was a reason she was here. A reason she mattered.
Susanna checked her phone. No signal. Figures, she thought to herself…although she had no idea who she would have called anyway. She was far from home by now and not so sure exactly where she was. Damn radio. Opening the door, Susanna stepped out onto the asphalt. Waves of heat rose up from the road and she wondered how long it would take for another car to pass this way. It didn’t take long.
There was a white minivan and a blue Ford truck but neither had stopped. Still, seeing two cars pass in only the first few minutes made her worry a little less. She decided to make it a little more obvious that she needed help and when the Impala rounded the bend just behind her, Susanna waved. It was black and the sun reflected off its flawless surface like glass. Nice car, she thought to herself. You don’t see them like that much anymore. Susanna’s Dad had a passion for the old classics and when she was little he used to take her with him to the Dairy Queen on Friday nights where people gathered to show off the cars they had painstakingly restored. This one was a ’67, she guessed, as it pulled over just ahead of her. The sound of the engine slowed to a low rumble and then stopped. A man stepped from the car; he was wearing jeans and a white t-shirt and he looked only slightly older than Susanna, which she found somehow comforting. Growing up with three brothers, she had learned to be comfortable with men…perhaps too comfortable…and a string of bad relationships was one of the things she had hoped to leave behind. As he approached, Susanna sized him up and decided he wasn’t likely to be an ax murderer. But eyes that blue were definitely dangerous and before he even spoke a word, Susanna knew she would fall for him if given half a chance.
© Kelly Rainey and 500wordsandcounting.wordpress.com, 2015.
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