Thursday, July 2, 2009

Two Moments That Didn't Happen ... and one that did

With the blue lights flashing behind her, she glances down at the speedometer just in time to see the bar drop below ninety. She just sighs. She wants to be upset; to muster up the tears that might save her from a ticket. But, while she's certain the tears will come again before the night is over, this isn't enough to bring them forward. All she can feel is that cold dead feeling that's been lingering with her since she first agreed to make the trip.

She pulls off to the side of the road and stares blankly out the front windshield. The cop saunters up to the window, which she obligingly rolls down. He leans in and gives her and the car a once over. He takes note of her turquoise and white sundress and the matching pearl and crystal necklace she's wearing with it. His lip twitches slightly at the sight of her tall white heels in the other seat. He smiles as he speaks, asking her teasingly "And where are you going in such a hurry?"

"I'm driving to Milledgeville to meet my boyfriend for dinner so he can break up with me." The cop's smile freezes and he finally looks into her eyes. Whatever he saw there causes the smile to fade completely. She isn't looking for his pity. She doesn't seem to be looking for anything at all.

"Milledgeville. That's ... well, that's a long drive from Fulton county."

Now it's her turn to smile slightly. It does nothing to hide her pain. "Yeah," she says, "I was hoping to get it over with quickly." He stares at her for a minute more before straightening up and walking back to his car. His lights flip off, and a moment later he is merely another car in the distance.

"Are you lost?" He's startled by the words that seem to almost come from beneath him. He looks down to see an elderly face staring up at him.

"Um, I'm sorry?"

"I asked if you were lost. Standing here on the street corner, you look lost." He wants to laugh at her. Laugh at the ludicrous notion that he could be lost in this town that he knows better than any other city on earth. And laugh because he is lost and there is nothing this kind woman can do to help.

"No ma'am. I'm not lost. I'm waiting on my girlfriend. I want to be somewhere that she can see me so I can jump in the car to give her directions rather than her trying to figure it out." His eyes drift back to the road and his focus drifts with them.

The woman smiles. His button down shirt and dress pants seem almost endearing now that she knows he's going on a date and isn't just some lost young professional. "I take it she's not from around here, then?" she asks, wanting to keep him company while he waits.

"No. She's driving all the way from Atlanta to break up with me."

The old lady goes stiff then, but he doesn't notice her stunned expression. With his eyes glued to the road, he doesn't even notice as she awkwardly walks away.

She knew she'd be wearing the new dress. He'd wanted to see it, and this would probably be the last chance. But there are many ways to wear a sundress. She looked at the punk rock necklace of chains and random beads and her eyes glanced at the green and turquoise dr. martins that would complete the transformation of the outfit into casual and fun. And then her eyes traveled on and caught the pearl necklace hanging on the stand on her vanity. She thought of the white heels in the closet. With out further hesitation she grabbed up the matching turquoise scarf to tie back her wet hair and moved to gather the other nice accessories.

With the outfit complete she wondered if she should text him, "wear your nice clothes." Wouldn't it be ridiculous if she got all dressed up only to find him in shorts and a t-shirt? She had no idea where they would be going to dinner. She didn't even know what the options were, as it was his home town they were going to. Maybe there wasn't even a restaurant worth getting dressed up for. Ultimately, though, she sent no message. She didn't ask him to dress up so she wouldn't feel alone, nor did she ask him where they were going so she could dress more appropriately. She left her phone in her purse as she clipped on the necklace and walked to the car with her shoes in hand. Afterall, if they ended up looking horribly inappropriate together, it just proved the point, right?

She continued to get nervous even as she got closer. She'd driven all this way with no clear idea of where she was supposed to be going once she was in Milledgeville. After driving through several large dead zones she'd confronted the fear of not being able to get in touch with him to find out on numerous occasions. She had been instructed to drive straight down this road and that she would "see what to do." When she crested the last hill, her stomach clenched. She saw him standing on the corner waiting for her and the somber expression on his face offered her no comfort. She pulled up next to him with her window rolled down, expecting him to tell her where to turn and park. Instead he opened the door and climbed into her passenger seat. His tone was barely above a whisper as he gave her directions and he refused to look at her. And yet, she couldn't help but feel a pang of relief. Because, glancing down, she realized that his shoes were almost as impractical as hers.