Stick Shift This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

August 7, 2010
By , Hilliard, OH
The silence was like a Christmas morning, welcoming and anticipated. She felt strangely at ease in his presence, like she finally found a mold she could fit into. For two people who claimed to despise each other only a year ago, they had a lot in common. They both sported the same brown hair and forced smiles. They both tapped their thighs with their fingers and mouthed along to Coldplay streaming from the car stereo.



What had brought them together, driving endlessly through a sleeping town, was that they were both lost. The world was just too big with too many decisions for them. They both longed for something real in a jumble of fake alliances and dreams. He covered up his pain by running and drinking to keep his head in the clouds instead of crashing down to Earth. She escaped the pain by running and constant hunger. Feeling empty gave her something to keep her mind on other than reality.



She didn't know why, after all this time, he had agreed to take her out, but she was glad he had. It had been completely out of conduct for her to text him, but he came easily when he was called. Letting the wind kiss her face through the window of the jeep, it was the fullest she'd felt in a long time.



He had surprised even himself of his forwardness with her. He was no longer the shy, pudgy boy whose only direct eye contact seemed to be with the floor. He found he could tell her things; his secret passion for music and his brother's drinking binge to cope with losing his best friend to a girl. He felt she really listened, soaking in his words and generating questions that made it seem like she really genuinely cared. He couldn't believe how alike they were. She held a secret passion for singing. He hoped she would sing for him someday.



They had their secrets. Both had images that only seemed to ripple the surface of who they really are. Neither knew where this unexpected reunion was going, but at that moment, it didn't really matter. Both of them had stepped out of their comfort zones only to find something that made them feel at home. Through him, she saw the possibility of endless strength with a little assistance from someone who was just as lost as she was.



"What are you doing?" she asked as he stopped the jeep in the middle of a ghost town street.

He smiled at her. "You're gonna learn stick shift."





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