Ride. | Teen Ink


May 19, 2013
By ShannonLinder GOLD, West Orange, New Jersey
ShannonLinder GOLD, West Orange, New Jersey
12 articles 9 photos 1 comment

I stood looking in the mirror. It was movie star style ? wide and surrounded by bare light bulbs. Smoothing on red lipstick, no blotting. I walked out behind his lounge chair, running my fingers over its coffee corduroy and curling the carpet in my toes.
"Let's go for a ride."

He swirled his beer around in the bottle, took a long pull and set it down with a thud. I just watched his hands. Clicked off the football game, Dolphins against the 49er's. For a moment their images flickered across my vision, receding in the shock of the dim room, dark wood panels and Vegas gambling-yellow lights. He stood up and circled behind me, running a hand through my hair in passing, just like always.

Outside the sky was dusty pink, but so bright along the horizon. I stood looking until he blew the horn at me, and even though I was only half startled I drifted over to the red Thunderbird, top down as usual. I couldn't even feel my feet on the ground, radiating heat. The roads were long and winding, I folded my hands under my head and watched him, watched the wind racing by, watched the desert turn to plains turn to suburbs turn to cities.

I saw it approaching and smiled. Those beautiful arches, cables, the color of it, the connectivity of it. I asked him to stop the car, and I jumped out without even opening the door, swinging my legs over the side old fashioned like a pin-up girl. The concrete was so warm beneath my feet that it seemed to rise up through me all the way to my fingertips. The thousands of tiny lights along the bridge were a pulsing, ebbing light, nothing but magnificent. They winked and smiled and whispered to me. I tilted my head back and let my hair fall off of my shoulders, clean.

And the ledge - it was easy to climb over. I ran my fingers across it. The bolts and feet of steel were the most solid thing I had ever felt and ever would feel. You would think that so much closer to heaven one would look upward, but everyone likes to look down. A person could stand here and think themselves in circles, tying their minds into a knot without realizing that they were bound by their own arms and legs.

There was an expanse to stand on, two or three feet wide, plenty of room, but I stood on my tiptoes, swinging one pointed foot over the abyss, anchored by my hands behind me. Over my shoulder I said
"Would you let me?"

He stood there, shoulders forward, brow furrowed, hands open. I laughed. I laughed more heartily than I had in my entire life. I was facing him now, rocking back and forth on the pads of my feet, heels over the edge. Holding onto the red metal with ten fingers, eight, six, two. Two index fingers, curled around the edge. Shifting back, two fingers and ten toes holding on, keeping me here. Behind me, everything, all of it, so thick, and warm, and quiet.

I laughed and laughed. The wind brushed across my skin, caressed my neck, kissed my collarbones, ran its fingers through my hair more lovingly than any human hand. I looked at my own two, human hands, and I
Let go.

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