Posted by Jina Bacarr
TERRY AND ME AND A HOT CAR, a very short story
I crushed on a guy in high school who drove the coolest car and wore the coolest black leather jacket.
You couldn’t miss him or his muscle car in the campus parking lot. Before school, after school…during classes. Yes, Terry was a bad boy. The kind teenage crushes are made of. But he always smiled at me. A freshman. Ponytail swinging, arms filled with books. Once he even picked up my red Algebra book when I bumped into a lamppost while I was staring at him.
“You gonna need this class, kid,” he said, smiling at me with twin dimples, “to go to college.”
“Nah, I’m going to be a writer,” I said with the confidence of a fourteen-year-old with big dreams.
“Still, you gotta pass all your classes.” He opened the math book. My test paper with big fat “D” fell out. He shot me a look that would melt the panties off a mannequin. “This ain’t gonna get you into college, kid.”
“We’re going for a ride.”
I freaked. Was that my heart pounding? My face sweating, I wet my lips, trying to look all sexy-like. It didn’t work. The only extra-curricular activity on Terry’s mind was putting pedal to the metal and revving up my brain for algebra.
“You remind me of myself, kid,” he said, shifting into high gear. I was riding shotgun and praying someone would see me with him.
“Yeah?” I said, scooting over closer. I could scarcely breathe when my knee touched his for a nanosecond.
He didn’t say a word, but jammed on the gas and we took off like a fire rocket. If I hadn’t had my seatbelt on, I would have ejected.
“Yeah. You’re a loner. Hanging out in the library during lunch, reading all the time.” He made a right turn so fast I swore we were taking the corner on two wheels. “You have a family?”
I nodded. As normal as pancakes and bacon strips on Sunday, I wanted to tell him, but I was too embarrassed, so I made up a story. “My dad is a roadie with a band so I never see him.” He was actually a sales rep for a bank and traveled a lot.
Terry lifted a very sexy right brow, as if to say, Yeah, right, and then got all serious. “I don’t have a family, really. Wish I did. But that’s not what’s important, kid. Your math class is.”
He pulled into a big park with thick trees and sunshine poking its nose through the branches. We sat in his car that day and other days after school. Him drilling me on algebra equations, x+y and all that jazz. Me, drooling over him.
I was totally in love.
With a senior.
But Terry had the hots for a cheerleader. No surprise here. But she wouldn’t give him the time of day. I wanted to run up to her and say, “Hey, what’s a matter? Isn’t he good enough for you?”
The truth was, Terry was smart (the way he aced those math equations proved that), but he didn’t go to class. The gossip mill said it was because his dad was always drunk and hit him. So he was like on this rebellion against society.
But he always found time to help me with my algebra. Made me study until I got it.
I scored an “A” in the class.
Then one day, I didn’t see Terry or his hot car in the campus parking lot. I panicked. I wasn’t worried about math or my grade or even riding in his car.
I was scared shitless about him.
I found out later Terry took a swing at his old man when his father hit his mom. Hurt her bad. Terry didn’t wait for answers. He took his mom to an abused women’s shelter and left town. Word was that he joined the army. I was sad, but happy for him. I’d hoped he found the family he was looking for among his fellow brothers in arms.
Soon after I got a postcard from him from some faraway place. Said life was good and he’d sold his car to help his mom get out on her own. I was so proud of him. I knew how much that car meant to him.
Then nothing from him.
Months later, the town was buzzing with news.
Terry was killed on a routine patrol. The bad boy with the good heart had taken a hit.
I was devastated. Didn’t sleep, eat.
But I did my math homework.
Knowing he was up there in heaven.
Wearing that black jacket of his.
And jamming through those pearly gates in his hot car.
She wore gray.
He wore blue.
But their love defied the boundaries of war.