His favorite song to drive fast to is Fire by Jimi Hendrix. We speed down the bridge going 100. The radio knob is cranked high. His two hands are straight in front of him, gripping the steering wheel at 11 and 1. When he slows down he turns the sound down and cracks open the windows. He tells me to check out his lights on the sides of his car.
I unbuckle my seat belt and stick my head out the window. I look down and see it’s changing colors at the rims—from green to purple to pink. The air feels cold and the stars glow bright as the wind pounded onto me. I put my head back in the car and let my arm linger out the window as he drove. I smile and tell him his lights are cool and he grins. I did a wave motion with my arm. I turn towards the window and really take in the night. The deserted roads. The full moon. The tall, shadowy trees.
I put my arm back in the car and it feels cooler. I hold my arm above the console and he touches me to feel the coolness. He held my left hand loosely. It was a little romantic. It probably didn’t mean much. He says he loves songs like this. Kusanagai by ODESZA is playing, with its chimes and magic feel. Like a touch of celestial love. We pass two bikers on the bend. The drive is quiet. We hardly speak.
“What are you thinking of?”
“Just driving. Taking in the breeze and the night.”
In the silence we are both participating. Participating with the moment. In tune with the sound of our voices and the wind blowing through our hair. In tune with the touch of smooth skin between our fingertips.
“Fun fact. I have an impeccable taste in music.”
“I have a great taste in music. But I don’t know, you might not think so.”
“I love all kinds of music. I don’t even pay much to what they’re saying, I just like the way it sounds.”
The drive is beautiful. Easy. Lighthearted. We are both so young. Youthful in a fast car at two in the morning. He was sexy when he sped. I grinned when I heard the engine floor. We were close to flying. Close to flying. I want him to be mine. I want to ask him to tell me secrets, to tell me more about him—but I didn’t. I couldn’t.
Or else he’d think I’m crazy. But I want to know him and have a connection. When we were on the couch I asked what his last name is. It’s hyphenated, because his parents were never together. He said he was the greatest mistake to have ever happened. He didn’t ask about my last name or parents. He’s burnt out high and tired. He didn’t care. I wish he’d take me out.
I swear I’d look like a girl from a distant dream. He pulls up to my house. I gather myself, and he turns to me. We kiss briefly.
“One more,” he says.
It’s a long, hard kiss.
“Later,” he says.
“Let me know when you’re lonely,” I say.
And as I cross the front of his car to get to my front door I feel a strange hope that I knew wasn’t even worth feeling.
is modern love.