Here and today a very different 2nd story to the spontaneous writing one David shared with us last week. This time I handed him five very different photos and he mumbled something about ‘very challenging’, and asked if he could choose the order of the photos, but he did it!
I had won the race; I had gone the distance, and had done what I set out to do, but would it matter? It had been a long struggle, rising to the top of the Moto Gran Prix circuit, practicing in the smaller classes before finally crossing that familiar checkered pavement at the finish line at Laguna Seca. Most in my position would be deep in celebration, drinking champagne, greeting the fans, hobnobbing with the wealthy sponsors. I made the obligatory rounds, but was now back here at the finish line, staring at the pavement. I may have been a star in some circles, and I was at the top of my field, but my true story is about a woman, and a promise some 6 years back.
Her name was Amanda, and we were together in high school. We grew up in Spring Meadows. It was a small town. The kind of town you either love, or dream of getting out of. We both fell into the latter category. We would stroll through the town square late at night and swap dreams; dreams of making it big, and moving someplace exotic, someplace that was warm the whole year round. Someplace like the Caribbean. Our dream was to open a little B&B next to the beach with the sound of the ocean and the smell of tropical flowers with us 24 hours a day.
We made plans, kissed, and even carved our names in the old sycamore tree in the town park. But then there was reality. Things like money and responsibilities. And this dream was abruptly shattered by reality one gray day in March. The hope and joy we felt carving our names into that old sycamore was replaced by a grim funeral. I still have the image of the gravestone of Amanda’s uncle. I wish I could say dear uncle, but that was not the case. He was a hard-driving small business owner who was indifferent to all people who were not his customers. He died suddenly, and his son Keith was too young to take over the business. Amanda was the only living relative who could run it, and although she was no fan of her uncle, she dearly loved little Keith, and couldn’t let the shop go out of business. She dropped out of community college to take over Albert’s store until Keith was old enough to do it. She could have apologized; said she was so sorry, and walked away. She could have gone with me far away, across the water, but that wasn’t the type of person she was.
It was funny that we didn’t keep in contact better, but we were both odd communicators – some things we would talk about in great depth, some things we wouldn’t. Would we finally go away together? Would she finally leave the shop to Keith? That was one of the things we didn’t talk about. But we had agreed upon a sign. In the little front garden of the shop there was an old metal signpost with the house number; number 24 on it. We had agreed that if she was ready to go with me, she would reverse the numbers, so that they read ’42’. A phone call should have sufficed, but that’s not the way it was with us. I would have to make the long drive to look at an old sign. When I completed the racing season; that’s when she would decide. And today was the final race in the season. Today was the day that I was still at the track long after the moon had gone up, rather than at a celebration. Or driving back to Spring Meadows. I couldn’t wait here forever; sometime I would have to go.
Even though I had made the drive a dozen times before, times when the long trip would seem to drag on forever; this time was different. The miles flew by in a blur, and before I knew it, I was in front of the shop. It took me 10 minutes to work up the nerve to get out of the car. I strode to the store front, and found the old sign covered in straw. Maybe to control the weeds? Or maybe left over from a bale of hay that had served as seasonal decoration. It didn’t matter. Underneath that thin layer of straw was my destiny. Together with Amanda in the Caribbean? Or another fate? I had only to dust away that light covering of straw, and I would know at last.
By David H. Willison III
And now to the regular feature of Friday Four Fill ins ~ here is from Hilary’s blog:
Each week, I plan on listing four statements with a blank for you to fill in on your own blogs. If you want to join the fun and come up with four fill in’s of your own, please email them to me . If I use them, I will add you as co-host to the hop! This week’s co-host is Beth Ann from It’s Just Life– she came up with the last two statements! I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY NEED SOME STATEMENTS!
I would LOVE it if you could please help me spread the word about this hop…. So, please tweet, FaceBook share, andadd the linky to your post…
This week’s statements:
1) I am so happy for my sister, who made it across the Atlantic to visit the US for the 1st time!
2) For the life of me, I cannot come up with anything for this one – too early…
3) I am pretty good at keeping secrets.
4) I don’t like that the first sign of fall (fog) was here already.
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