Friday, May 9, 2008

Day Eleven: Motorcycles

(Because tonight I rode in a tank top and jeans in a no-helmet state, legs wrapped around the driver (no pegs), arms wrapped around him, speaking softly into each other’s ears. Harley Nightster. I want one.)

* * *

Last year. My ex-student comes to visit, his Harley still not paid off, the loan from his ex-girlfriend one last tendril in his new relationship. He takes me for a ride around town. I lean into him, young, handsome, talented, totally fucked-up, and wish I was younger and the kind of girl he likes. A minivan pulls in as the left lane ends and he politely drops back.

“You could have made it,” I say into his ear.

“If I didn’t have you I would have.”

“Don’t stop on my account.”

* * *

Two years ago. Bike rally, Fourth of July. Kentucky. Three other girls and I watch fireworks and lounge on a riverbank. After the finale, we want to ride. Two of us have never been on a motorcycle before. "Come on," I say, and we head through the parking lot full of black and silver and red and yellow and every tattoo-like tank-paint job imaginable. I see a group of men. “There’s four of you and four of us,” I say to one. Wanna give us a ride?” We figure they’ll spin us around the block, nice to meet you, have a nice night. But fifty yards out of the lot My God I’m in fake pleather pants, not even vinyl, Power Girl’s in a halter top, two girls in skirts they pull left instead of right, onto the highway, into the fog. Fireworks are still distant in the hills, other towns not finished “GoAmerica!” yet. None of us have helmets. The bikes rocket up to 90, 95, 110, 135, I stop looking.

I realize, this could be it. One pothole, one bad bump, one careless motorist, we will all die. We don’t know these men, they might take us to their secret gang hideaway…does anyone have a secret gang hideaway any more? If one of us got separated, we’d have no way to find them…

Halfway, we pull into a Conoco to fill up, get Power Girl a pair of sunglasses. I ask my new friend, “So, how do you all know each other?”

“We don’t. This is th’ first time we rode together.”

“But I thought you guys were together! You said, yeah, we could all ride with you all!”

“Well, I didn’t figure they’d say no.”

* * *

Fifteen years ago.

My boyfriend Doug, chosen largely because he looked like my brother, takes me home from seeing the director's cut of Blade Runner. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, and we rocket down the eight lanes by the water, the light on his jacket, my miniskirt, very MTV. Hair in the wind. Sunglasses at night. Doug deals with a traffic slowdown by striking up the middle of the lanes, and the cop who pulls us over is so disgusted he stomps up, huffs out, “If you want to kill her you should put her in front of the bike,” and stomps back without writing the ticket we richly deserve.

Later that week, I am in the parking lot of a grocery store, buying what I buy every week in college – cheap steak, eggs, potatoes, macaroni, canned tomatoes, broccoli, oatmeal, raisins, half and half, exactly twenty dollars every time. I set the bags in the back seat of my hatchback and watch a beautiful motorcycle cruise the parking lot – it’s the first time I’ve ever seen a reproduction vintage Harley, brand new and antique, everything shiny and silver and art deco turquoise.

“You want a ride?”

I do very much want a ride and since I am 19 and away from home and getting more reckless by the day, I hop on. It is wildly different from Doug’s tiny, shaky Kawasaki. This is like riding a bus, so stable and solid. The rider is an elementary school janitor, he has saved for twenty years to buy this bike, this machine, this moment of “wanna ride?” and the 19-year-old blonde with the nice tits says yes.

* * *
Twenty years ago.

I leave school, cut third period gym, walk down the road across the interstate where it becomes not a nice part of town (I am just now remembering this, this started as a story about motorcycles and joy and risk and wind and maybe a meaningful moment about the janitor) and hitch the four miles to my boyfriend’s house. I am fifteen. He is twenty-eight. I think that this makes me very, very cool. He lives with his mother, he has a six-inch scar from heart surgery as a child. We fuck on his bedroom floor. He is my third partner, he is “friends” with my second partner, but not friends enough not to go after his girlfriend. I make tickmarks by their names in my pink address book, once-twice-thrice-more. He takes me back to school in time for fifth period after lunch, English, which I never miss. People know I cut, but they do not know why. They know I am the girl who answers too many questions with too many words in class, the girl whose parents won’t let her get contacts, the girl we call names and put things in her locker and shove in the halls when teachers aren’t watching. They do not know about my cool grown-up boyfriend and my cool sex life and what I do when I am supposed to be showering with everyone else because I am sick of getting marked down for not showering, not being able to show a wet towel.

* * *


“Want a motorcycle?” asks Power Girl.

“Ummmm…maybe?” because I already know this is a Candy Mountain moment, and I will be grumpy Charlie while Power Girl fills my world with magical wonder.

“Lie down on your back on the floor!” and everyone gets giggly, I can tell we have all had motorcycles, and yes, I should have a motorcycle, it will be good for morale, whatever it is.

She grabs my ankles, puts her foot in my crotch and jerks my legs up and down while going, “Vroom! Vroom!”

I laugh. Everyone laughs. The Boss played, and everything is OK. And The Boss plays as hard as she can, hoping the outside and the inside come closer.


Emma Kelly said...

Hi Mandy,

I enjoy delving back into my erotic past and often sharing memories on Em's blog. Perhaps it's because I suspect my memories will replace my new experiences at an ever expanding rate in the next years, either because my juices begin to dry up or Em puts me out to pasture in favor of younger stallions.

Enjoyed this post very much.


Mrs. Kelly's Playhouse

Cunning_Linguist said...

makes me want to go right out and buy another bike. Of course, that means I'd keep stalking you to see if you'd be my pass. lol. Worse things in life than wind in your hair and a woman wrapped around ya I s'pose. ;)

Mandy said...

Scott - glad you stopped by. Lately, it's hard to tell what memories are nurturing my heart and what just make more pain.

Cunning Linguist - I'm always up for a ride ;)