I turn the key and the motorcycle roars to life beneath me. It has been a long time since I felt the thrilling sensation of a powerful engine running through my body. It transports me back to my youth when I had spent hours on end riding the back of my boyfriend’s hog. The thought of those carefree summer nights, sneaking out of my parent’s house to drive the country roads brings a smile to my face. I spare a look for the house I am about to leave behind. The house I spent 20 years of my life trapped in. If my younger self had seen me playing the sweet little house wife to a middle aged, over weight, over bearing man, she wouldn’t have recognized me. Or she would have kicked my ass, deservedly. Luckily the selling of the old traditional colonial left me enough spending money to quit my job and head off on the road. Somewhere along the path of adulthood, I lost myself. There are days that I don’t even recognize the woman I have become. When I was young, I had pictured a bohemian life traveling the country, selling my art, meeting new people every day. Instead, I ended up caving to the pressures of normalcy. It is time to change that. Screw normal, I want to be happy.
I pull the 1999 Harley Davidson Sportster out of the gravel driveway and say goodbye to my life for the last time. The Harley is probably considered a relic now, but it is holding up fine despite sitting in the garage for years. As a wedding present, my husband and I had bought it for ourselves with the idea that we would spend our summers traveling on it. Of course that never happened. At least I got it in the divorce.
I drive lazily through my old neighborhood filled with cookie cutter houses and white picket fences. It is a beautiful portrait of suburban bliss with the California sun peaking behind the houses like a halo. One day, I may settle down here again, but not before I live a little. The motorcycle purrs between my legs in a familiar sensation of power and tingling pleasure that reaches through my whole body as I pull onto the freeway. To be honest, I don’t really have a plan as to where I am going to go. My iPhone has GPS, but my goal is not to use it. My goal is to actually not use my phone at all. Phones have a way of subtitling influencing your path through constant connectedness. I wanted to connect in a different way. Despite being constantly connected to every person I have ever met in my life through texting, Facebook, Instagram and email, I feel like I haven’t had a relationship with passion that wasn’t mitigated by a screen or a fake smile.
My plan is to drive east or maybe southish without reading road signs. I will wait for fate to intervene and guide my path. About an hour in to my drive I am good and thoroughly lost. Despite living in southern Cali my whole life, if you ride long enough it is surprisingly simple to get lost. I drive, approaching what looks like a really small town. Leading up to it, I had been driving through long stretches of nothingness. Open green fields with a few houses here and there. Most of the drive the bike has been sputtering and struggling to maintain higher speeds. As I get closer to the town, the bike is struggling to make even 25 mph. With a sigh, I know I have to get it looked at. Guess that is what I get for taking my ex-husbands bike. Everything he touched turns to shit.
When I say I want to let fate decide my path, a busted bike isn’t exactly what I mean. I pull into what looks like the only gas station in the whole town. A nameless one pump joint with a garage attached to a convenience store. I prop the bike up on its kick stand and pull off my black helmet. My long black hair tumbles in a heap down my back. I run my fingers through it in an attempt to get rid of helmet hair. I wait on my bike for what feels like an eternity in the hot sun reflecting off of the black assault of the gas station. Right when I am about to get off my bike and go searching, the door to the convince store opens and out walks what I can describe only as a god among men. What the hell was a man like this doing in a dump like this? He is wearing coveralls unbuttoned down to his waist with the sleeves tied to keep it up. He is blessedly without a shirt, letting me get an amazing look at his perfectly cut and sun tanned abs. His hair is a dirty blond cut close to his head. His face is chiseled and clean cut. My heart instantly speeds up as I became suddenly aware of my own appearance. I wondered what my black tank top and skin tight black jeans make me look like to him. Although there was a time that I had let myself go a little bit, I have always been a very pretty woman, and since my divorce, I have gotten myself back into shape. I am lucky enough to have a classic pin up hour glass figure with curves in the right places. I smooth my hair back one more time as he approaches.
“How’s it going?” His bass voice washes through me. I haven’t felt this flustered since I was a teenager. It has been so long since I have been single and taking notice of men around me.
“Oh Hi…” I try desperately not to show my attraction, hoping it isn’t painted all over my face. “My bike seems to be giving out on me. It was my ex-husbands, so it hasn’t been ridden in a while.”
“We’ll let me take a quick look,” the un-named man says as he kneels down to take a look at the bike. “Looks like it hasn’t been a taken care of for a while.”
“Not the only thing,” I whisper under my breath and instantly flush red at the subtle admission to this complete stranger. He looks up from the bike. His eyes meet mine with an intensity that instantly cut through my embarrassment and self-consciousness.
“That is a shame,” he says with his deep smooth voice. It reaches deep with-in me to places that have laid dormant for years. “Beautiful women deserve to have the best rides.” I am not sure if he is making a cheesy sexual innuendo or if he is genuinely talking about the bike, but either way it makes my heart pick up again. “I am going to need to look at this for a bit, you have some time to wait?”
“Not like I can go anywhere,” I respond.
I make my way to the local dive bar across the street. In the middle of the day, only the usual townies seem to be sitting sporadically throughout the bar. I take a seat at the counter. I am going to have to find a place to stay tonight while my bike is repaired. What a way to start my new life? As I sit feeling sorry for myself debating if I want to throw caution to the wind and get a drink in the middle of the day, the door swings open letting in the natural sunlight which cuts through the murky dimness of the bar. As my eyes adjusted to the light I see my mechanic looking around. His eyes meet mine, and he starts making his way towards me.
“Hi, I realized I don’t have a way to reach you,” He says. I had gotten excited when I saw him, thinking that maybe he was just coming to see me, I feel a little disappointed that he is just doing his job.
“Oh, I don’t know yet,” I said.
“Well, if you want to wait here until I am off work, I can pick you up and help you find a place. Don’t worry my bike is in excellent condition,” He says while maintaining eye contact. His eye contact is unnerving. Either he is extremely confident or he is just trying to be polite. Either way I am thrilled at the thought of seeing him again in a more personal setting.