The Girl in the Blue Truck

June 10, 2010
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I sit on the front steps of the house porch watching the feathers of three nearby birds turn from blue to deep gold in the glow of the sunset. They dance from branch to branch, completely oblivious to me, or anything else outside of their own little tree. I watch them for some time, until the roar of an ancient engine and the sound of tires kicking dust alert me to someone’s approach. The birds flutter away in fright and I look up just in time to see an old blue truck turn down the dirt drive leading to my house.
I’m not sure whether I should stand and greet her, or just stay where I am until she gets out of her truck. I tense my legs and watch with silent eyes as the car’s engine goes silent and she opens the driver’s door.

You’d never expect to see someone like her driving that old, beat up Chevy truck. Most people would expect to see a girl who looks like her in a BMW convertible, something sleek and beautiful that would allow the wind to ripple through her perfect, white blond hair. But I know that the truck is her. It’s her heart and soul modeled into a car. She is wise, with a soulful smile, and a classic personality. She’s loyal and dependable, and though she’s been through some rough patches, she’s absolutely perfect.

I nearly chicken out as these thoughts race through my brain. The idea of giving up and not going through with it becomes a much better idea when she gets out of the car. How can a girl in faded jean shorts and a baggy grey sweatshirt look so beautiful? How can I do this to her? To me?
She smiles briefly at me, her endless eyes a well of clear blue water. They quickly drop to her feet, preferring to stare at the tops of her scuffed up Converse than into my eyes. That’s when I know that she knows.

“Hey.” I say, standing up to greet her. I quickly run my fingers through my shaggy brown hair, then curse myself. She knows it’s a nervous habit of mine. I was determined not to let her know I was this nervous. But then again, she’d probably know anyways. She knows me better than anyone, even myself sometimes.

She smiles and her eyes lift to mine. I detect a hint of sadness in their depth, and I know for sure that she understands. For some reason, knowing that she understands why I’m doing this, doesn’t make me feel better.

“Hey.” She bites her lip slightly.

I look around. Dang it! I didn’t prepare any of this. What to start off with, where to go, how to do this the best way possible? What if I get it wrong?

“Do you wanna sit down?” I ask, my eyes traveling to the porch swing. Seeing it brings back all the times we sat together, sipping slightly sour lemonade and watching the sunset, all the while teasing each other and reminiscing on the days’ events.

“We could sit in the truck.” She offers, then she reddens, no doubt remembering our first and last kiss in the seat of that truck. Or maybe she was thinking about the time we laid back in the truck’s bed, watching the stars and sharing the secrets of our souls.

We stand there awkwardly for a minute.
“I…I don’t really know how to start out.” I say, embarrassed. I kick myself inwardly. Am I such a wimp that I am going to make her do this for me? No, I have to take control. I can’t just sit back and let her figure it out on her own. “I mean, I don’t want to do this. I just…”

“I get it.” She cuts in, not willing to let me stumble along awkwardly. My eyes meet her briefly and I see that she’s telling the truth. The trust and love I see there has me looking away guiltily.

“I know.” I say, slightly relieved and slightly frustrated. “I just, I want us to end on a good note. I don’t want to screw this up.”

“I understand.” She says. I take a chance and look at her, thankful that she’s not looking at me, but towards the setting sun. The sun casts a golden glow upon her face, and I know I’m seeing an angel. Why was I breaking up with her again?

She’s quick to remind me.

“I don’t want to end bad either. But I don’t want to head into college always thinking about you, and how much I miss you. We’re going to universities five thousand miles away from each other. And as much as I don’t want to say good-bye, college is supposed to be about really finding out who you are, and what you want to do with the rest of your life. And that’s just, really hard to do when you’re still tied to your home, and the people you left behind.”

I shake my head and smile.

“I should have let you take this from the start. You always were better at putting things into words.”

She’s silent for a moment before a smile creeps upon her face.

“And you can’t string two words together to save your life.” She laughs softly.

“Hey, I got into college.” I shoot back with a grin.

“Yeah,” She says softly, and I can tell she’s not in the joking mood. Her eyes sadden. “Yeah you did. And I’m really proud of you for that. First college attendee in the family.”
We come to a bend in the path where a crooked tree stands with a solitary wooden swing that’s gently swaying. We both stop, and I’m overwhelmed with nostalgia. Long summer days exactly like this one that we spent on that swing, seeing how high we could stay in the air before falling.

That’s what this feels like. The last year had been us flying together. And now, the ground was rushing up to meet us.

“I don’t regret anything, you know.” She says suddenly, her eyes fixed on the swing. “I don’t regret falling in love with you, or making the choice to go to the university of my dreams, even though it was so far from you.”

She turns to face me directly, her eyes locking on mine.

“I don’t regret anything about the past year. And even though it’s going to be really hard to move on, even though I’m probably going to cry myself to sleep for a long time, and even though I’ll miss you every day, I don’t regret anything.”

I wish I could say something more original, but like always, she’s said it all. I can only swallow and nod.

“Same here.” I say softly.

A familiar amused smile lights up her eyes, but it quickly disappears and is replaced by sadness. We start walking again. We’re almost back to the house. The sun’s completely gone now, just a fading distant memory, and I can’t help but feel sappy, like the sun’s gone down on our relationship. The hope that was just burning in my soul, has dimmed and suddenly I’m looking at four years without her, and darkness creeps in.

We make our way around the house to the front where her blue truck is waiting patiently like a loyal dog. She stares at it for a minute, then sighs.

“I have to get home. I’ve still got packing to do.” She says lightly.

“What time do you leave in the morning?” I ask, sad as our deep, serious conversation drifts to light, small talk only heard in conversation with strangers.

“Five.” She groans and I laugh.

“A year goes by and you still don’t like getting up early.” I shake my head. “Nothing changes.”

“And everything does.” She sighs again, her eyes finding mine. “This isn’t good bye.” She says strongly. I take her hand.

“I know.”

“It’s not the end either.” She says more ardently as I step closer, my eyes falling to her lips.

“It’s the beginning.” I say, ready to swoop in for the dramatic good bye kiss. Then she laughs and I stop in my approach.

“What?” I demand to know. She shakes her head, still laughing.

“That was corny.”

“Oh yeah?” I challenge. Before she can answer I duck down and kiss her one last time.

When we pull apart, she smiles, her eyes softening.

“I love you.” She says, taking a step back.

“Me too. Forever.”

She stares deep into my eyes, then turns and walks away from me. She hops into the blue truck, and with one last heart wrenching smile, slowly drives away.

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