The Anniversary

The truckIt had been a fun evening until the end. We had over-stayed our welcome and had too much to drink. Awkward good byes were said and we headed out to the dark street.

That truck, if only she could talk. We’d bought her from my brother for $150. He’d had a few adventures in her himself, and left a few pieces of evidence behind: a shotgun in the back, a flask of whisky under the seat and a bag of pot in the glove compartment. We never acknowledged those bonus items. Reliable she was not, and this night she refused to start. We looked back at the warm house, but the lights were already out.

Why don’t we tap on the starter? I don’t think we’d learned that trick yet.

We were new at this relationship then, just a few months into it all. We barely knew each other. You had been mildly annoyed, then amused on our first date when I pretended not to have ID in the lounge. I was a little younger than you thought. Illegally younger. We’d spent the entire summer getting to know each other, no one could accuse us of moving too fast.

You were just seventeen! I know what you mean, but I’d had a crush on you for years already.

It was a cool November night; probably why distrustful old truck didn’t start. There was a light dusting of snow on the ground, just enough to reflect off the streetlights and brighten up the night. With almost no discussion we decided to walk home. Home would be your place tonight. We put on everything we had available for warmth and set out.

We walked down the middle of the street, because we could and because we were drunk. There were no lights on in any of the homes of this quiet residential neighbourhood, and no cars on the road.

I remember feeling like we were the only two people in the world. I remember thinking you were the most beautiful girl in the world.

Our shoes crunched on the fresh snow as we met each other’s gait effortlessly. Drunk or not, our gait was brisk, we had a long way to go.

I had never met anyone that would walk like this with me. I used to walk miles home from school so I could use my bus fare for pinball.

We had no discussion about the journey ahead that night, how far it might be, how long it might take.  We brought up no alternate solution to the problem. The truck is broken so we will walk, naturally.

I would have thought we’d have a more reliable vehicle by now. At least we can still walk all night if we need to.

We came to the train tracks and turned north, into the wind. We stopped holding hands, instinctually leaning into the wind. You wouldn’t know we were still in a city. Tall grass and weeds were growing up along the tracks. We passed over a small creek.

By the time we turned west and back into suburbia, our cheeks were hot and red from the wind. The sky was brightening ever so slowly. Not too much farther now.

Had I been on the train yet? Yeah, I thought you were leaving me, but you came back.

I bought a six-month train pass. I was going to see Canada. I was going to get you out of my system. I was home in two weeks, home sick for you.

As we reached the main artery, the sun suddenly peaked out of the horizon and shed light on the whole world. We’d walked all night. The warmth of a 7-eleven beckoned us in. Those dried up old sandwiches had never tasted so good. One more block and we were home. We undressed and snuggled into bed, cuddled and asleep within minutes.

If you knew then what you know now would you change anything? Not a thing.

Happy Anniversary

Portraits of the North - Meeting Gerald Kuehl
An Unfamiliar Place

One Response to The Anniversary

  1. Wonderfully written Donna – those classes are really working. Great picture now I know who your boys look like. Really enjoyed this literary experience – hugs to you and Ray. 🙂

    Nancy September 27, 2017 at 11:19 am Reply

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