Had anyone walked past the stadium that day, they would have seen in the grassy field a honkin’ green pickup truck in the throes of a death spasm. Over and over, the metal beast lurched forward a few inches before comically jerking and bucking to a stop with a pitiful dying cough.
In the driver’s seat, Olivia restrained her 15-year-old mouth from unleashing a string of expletives. Her dad rubbed the back of his abused neck and calmly suggested she try again. With a frustrated huff, she shoved the clunky gearshift into first gear and silently cursed the unfairness of it all. Like it or not, she was stuck with these wheels until she graduated. Her choices were limited: learn to drive this 1974 Hunk of Junk or walk.
It was nearly twenty years later when Olivia stepped gracefully stepped out of the passenger’s side of her date’s sports car into the humid evening. When she turned she found him standing at the rear of his car, narrowing his blue-grey eyes at her before he said, “You know what would be even more great about you? If you drove a stick.”
Olivia immediately broke into a mischievous grin and shot her hand out, palm up. “Gimme the keys.”
Without even a moment’s hesitation, he smirked and tossed his keys to her. “Big mouth. Let’s see it.”
With efficient ease she folded her lanky legs into the leather seat, flipped the headlights and popped the stickshift into reverse. Leaning towards him she said seductively, “It’s been a while. Just warning you.” He shifted nervously in the passenger’s seat and said a silent prayer for his baby.
Blowing her side-swept bangs out of her eyes, she carefully released the clutch and simultaneously pressed the gas pedal. The powerful engine vroomed under her and her daddy’s voice was in her head saying, “You have to find the sweet spot with the clutch. That’s the key.” Ahhh, there it was. Once freed from the parking spot, Olivia pushed the clutch down and braked to a gentle stop. Taking a deep breath, she shifted into first gear. Moment of truth. Releasing the clutch again, adjusting pressure on the gas for a more seamless transition… easy…. easy…. and then the sleek car was zipping away effortlessly into the night. Her date burst out in delighted laughter and rolled the windows down to let the night air caress their joyride.
Once Olivia returned his car to its original spot, she held out the keys with a satisfied grin as he approached her. He didn’t take the keys, but wordlessly crushed her into his arms and ravished her still-smiling lips. When they parted, she tilted her head up to meet his eyes quizzically. He simply grinned down at her and said, “My GOD, that was sexy.”
As he tucked her neatly into the crook of his shoulder and they headed inside, Olivia looked skyward and sent thanks for the lessons learned from that honkin’ green truck.