A Great Love
Stephen Holliday | Kristy Lankford
The car was a 1967 Chevy Impala SS four-door with a Turbojet 427 V8, rebuilt on his own dime, working extra hours at the hardware store. He imagined sitting in her running his hands over the dash and steering wheel then he reached for the ignition and smiled as the engine turned over. Sitting at his desk in his fourth block math class he could feel the vibrations of the engine running up his arms. Imagined how people would lock their doors when he pulled up at a stoplight, the dark tinted windows and huge trunk insinuating the air of some large black predator prowling next to them in their little Prius or (“daddy’s Porsche”).
He knew how she would surge over the river of black asphalt, Her engine roaring, and couldn’t wait to take her there. Even when she refused to be good making him fix some issue like the cams or the intake that previously worked like a champ, acting like a bad girlfriend, he loved Her. He doodled little sketches of Her in his notebook as the teacher went over some point in the textbook or problem on the board. He had pictures of Her on his phone from different angles some even of the engine with the hood up like his own stash of dirty pictures from a girl.
He knew the other kids talk trash about him because of his infatuation with Her, knew they called him unimaginative names like metal-head, the teenage dirtbag with the rusty POS, and grease monkey and Cam-head, which was not even remotely a good one since his name was Cameron. Though, he gave them points for “cam-head” since it meant they knew at least one car part. The other kids even went so far as to throw little bits of paper and eraser at him when the teacher wasn’t looking.
And, you know so what if She had a little rust near the back right tire well, he was working on it. Cameron had found Her in an old barn a few miles from his house covered with a tarp and decades of dust and hay and animal shit. But, it had been love at first sight despite or maybe because of how much work She needed. When old man Winchester saw the look in Cameron eyes he let Cameron have her in exchange for some help at his hardware store and around his property.
The bell rang. Cameron packed his bag as fast as he could and slipped out the door before the bell even stopped ringing. It took less than two minutes for him to reach the parking lot. All around him the other students flooded the lot, the cliques in their territories and the underclassmen all rushing and scurrying to the buses lined up around the school. The jocks had the best spots over by the lot exit with their row of almost identical Ford Pickups like meathead clones, the cheerleaders and the other popular girls next to them with their short skirts and too tight designer clothes driving expensive cars bought by daddy. As beautiful as they were those girls didn’t have anything on Her.
The alt-kids at the back of the lot with their tuner rides the size of matchbox cars in neon and black thinking their little toys could hold up against Her. The “in your face lesbian clique”” gathered around their cheap sedans blaring, “All the things you said” by Tatu. Which was hypocritical since they were a fake Russian lesbian couple.
The stoners and adrenaline junkies with their shredded clothes and dirty-look style crowded around the bike rack phones and small portable speakers pumping out old school _Green Day _while popping ollies on the sidewalk. The art kids sat in the grass while touching colored pencils and pastel chalk to large sketchpads.
He looked past them and saw the new girl across the parking lot. She was dressed much like he was in simply jeans and a shirt, she had long red hair down to her waist and freckles on her shoulders. This girl was looking at Her, running her hands over Her. The new girl walked away before Cameron could make it over. He watched her walk over to her own car, a 1971 Hemi Cuda convertible in plum crazy purple.
“Damn…” Cameron said walking towards his car.
Cameron himself didn’t belong with any group, too smart for the jocks, not jockey enough for the cheerleaders or popular for those model-looking girls, not too much of anything for any one group. Maybe if there had been a greaser clique since his jeans and t-shirts were usually covered in the slick, black stuff. Besides, the only one he wanted to spend any time with was Her and he felt the feeling was mutual.
And, there she was. All black lines and chrome accents glistening from the rain they had earlier in the day. As he unlocked the door he saw the new girl watching as he slid inside, throwing his backpack onto the back seat, he ran his hands over the supple black leather of the seat and the smooth dashboard before gripping the wheel. For some reason his mind shifted and it was the new girl’s body his hands were on before he caught himself and turned the engine over.
The roar was deafening. Every head in the parking lot turned toward him as Cameron revved the engine, the rumble vibrating the cars next to Her, and pulled out. Feelin’ good he hooked up his iPod and turned on “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line feat. Nelly as he came out on the road and in concert with his first great love floored it rocketing down the road.