The Small Honda

I slide out of the brisk evening air and into the passenger seat of his small old Honda, a car far too small for his football player frame. He sticks the key into the ignition, the engine coming to life. A layer of ice and snow occupies the windshield, he waits a few minutes for it to defrost. Faint clouds float from our mouths with each breath, remaining only for a few moments before fading away into the cold air of the car.

He pulls puts the car into reverse and pulls out of the lot, windshield still slightly foggy. They say that a reckless driver is safer than a scared driver, a sentiment I didn’t believe until the first time he drove me somewhere. He turns onto the main road, only half of one hand gracing the freezing surface of steering wheel. Yet, I still feel perfectly safe.

A CD plays in the background–EDM music that we both enjoy despite knowing that it is less artful than other genres. We have bits and pieces of a conversation, keeping it casual, but it feels more meaningful than typical small talk. We don’t force conversations; silence between us doesn’t have undertones of awkwardness like it does with other people I interact with. I catch glimpses of the outline of his face and his features highlighted by streetlamps and stoplights, but otherwise keep my gaze fixed on the passing scenery, though I’ve seen it hundreds of times. Part of me wonders if he’s stealing glances at me too, if he wonders what my face looks like in the fleeting sources of dim light.

We’re about halfway home when he pushes the eject button on the CD player, the radio immediately blaring a Top 100 song in response. He pulls the CD out of the slot and flips down the visor, revealing a holder housing ten or so plain CDs that he made himself. He slides the CD into an empty slot, pulls out a different one with no hesitation and slips it into the player. “No One” by Alicia Keys fills the small Honda.

We sing along, like we always do when music plays. He isn’t the best singer and he knows it, but never shies away from the high notes. I always turn and grin at him when he tries and fails to match the artist’s pitch and he always grins back and says, “Sorry, I’m done,” but he never stops and I’m glad he doesn’t.

We sing with Alicia Keys to the best of our abilities. It’s fun, like it always is–casual, no pressure. I don’t turn to him when his voice cracks on the high notes though, I keep my eyes on the houses that glide by, bullied into shyness by the thought that there could be significance behind his music choice.

“Beautiful Soul” by Jesse McCartney comes on next and we sing. I have to remind myself that this is normal, this is what we do. I smile at the familiarity, at the song that my friends and I loved back in middle school, but also at us in his small Honda singing as we cruise through the night.

He pulls into my driveway. I thank him for the ride. He smiles and says he’ll see me tomorrow. I watch as the pair of headlights veer around the corner and out of sight. I walk into my house, humming to myself because the songs are stuck in my head.

 

The World from a Writer

It’s a strange thing

seeing the world as a writer

for we see things

miles beneath the surface

The girl with blonde hair

has a waterfall of

sunbeams dripping down

her back

but she doesn’t know it

Sadness brings surges of

tsunami waves and hurricanes with

sheets of rain and

every type of natural disaster

imaginable

Hot chocolate isn’t just good

(and God forbid you would use

such a bland word)

it comes in waves of

decadent chocolate so

sweet and then a snap of

cinnamon that dances around

your taste buds

It’s a strange thing

seeing the world as a writer

but I couldn’t imagine how lifeless

a world without sunbeam hair and

tsunami waves of sadness and

dancing cinnamon

would be

Why College Scares Me

I have trouble deciding what

flavor ice cream to get because

what if I take one bite of

the mint chocolate chip and realize

that I would’ve much preferred

pistachio when really

I can get ice cream whenever I want so

it shouldn’t be that big of a deal

But I’m 17 years old now and

I need to think about college and

what I want to do with my life

But if I can’t decide between

mint chocolate chip and pistachio how

am I supposed to decide my future?

What if, fifteen years down the road

I’m a neurosurgeon who’s

destined to write a best-seller

but doesn’t know it

Or what if I’m a freelance writer

who can’t pay for neurosurgery at all

They say applying for college is

“an exciting time”

but I hardly agree because

changing careers is a lot more

complicated than simply

getting more ice cream

Her

I see her

Eyes determined

intense

so sure of what she wants

so sure of herself

Drinking up every moment

of her precious life

Feeling everything

the frustration

devastation

happiness

love

Not settling

Not caring

Every smile so true

Every moment with purpose

Bursting with passion

wonder

Emitting confidence with every step

 

I see her

I see the girl I want to be