I stopped at the light. My head resting back on the seat, fine hairs lifting and separating, landing upon my gin soaked lips, dancing across my collarbone and lapping at the tip of my nose. A long day at its end, dinner consumed, out, and with the lube of not one but two martinis. The long light giving me pause to try and tuck the wildly flipping stands of white blonde behind my ear and plunge my pudgy paw into the center console in an effort to retrieve my increasingly disoriented radio remote. Lady Gaga, flip, some Irish sounding “rock” band, flip, the shallow and tinny sound of studio produced music taking less than a few seconds to turn me off and inspire my wandering thumb to scroll up and down.
“Layla, you got me on my knees” the soulful plucking of guitar strings in place of electric screeching and intensity, the groan of the taught wire palpable as the thick-skinned fingers pressed them hard against the vibrating frame of the curvy instrument. “Begging darling please, Layla” and older, calmer, more longing Eric Clapton’s voice a mix of want, remembrance and wisdom as his long ago ache spilled out into the warm caverns of my 2007 red Camry…before I knew it I’d slipped my fingers around the tight little top button of my uniform shirt and in one fail swoop, set a tiny bit of my work day flesh free. Clapton’s voice groaned with the kind of desire I am especially accustom to, that knowing what you want but not being allowed to have it thing. Hair being restrained, the grumble of a long and trying work day, in the form of a stiff spine, slightly softened by icy cold chunks of shaken gin served in a high and tight triangle glass, sitting across from the face of a man that adores me and the skin tingling purr of relatable music wistfully spinning about me on my ride home.
A very deep growl simmered inside me. Started right around my weary ankles and slowly began to creep up the fleshy bits on the back of my thighs. I felt the day being lifted from my skin with each rumble much in the same way I used to lift the comic images from the Sunday comics with Silly Putty. Everything still there and visible, just flipped in front of me rather than sitting weighty on my chest. That growl slipped from between my lips in a way that might have embarrassed me…if I hadn’t been distracted by, “scrape, pop, hum” the sound of little rubber wheels skipping across the sidewalk.
That particular sound, the dragging of firm rubber across concrete a sound so familiar to me it could be my middle name. The secret language of skaters, be they roller or board. I spent nearly every summer with my feet laced onto wheels, my increasingly rounding body sailing down every hill I could find…often with my heart resting at the very top of my throat and beating so loudly, and before we were all plugged into nerve rattling music, it became my soundtrack. Scraping, the sound of warm air whizzing past my ears and pulling my skin and hairline tight, the thump-thump-thump of a heart that didn’t know, or care, how or when we were going to stop. The way those extra hours of sun were spent until I could slip my chunky frame into the barely lit and sloshy cool pool…the rolling, scrapping and sloshing my best friends way back then, ones I miss now when I hear them call….
“Scrape, pop, hum” like a crooked finger rested upon my jaw pulling my head to the left. I felt my heart start beating more ardently; very much in the same way I felt when I would fly down a hill, wheels ablaze beneath me, tiny pebbles and bits of tossed aside life being rolled over as I heard my mother’s voice calling me to dinner. I knew it was time to go, end the freedom and exhilaration, hard rubber wheels that just seconds before brought be absolute liberation now ushering me back to the house I ached to be let free from. I saw the newish sneakers, the crushed black material, thick laces and well-worn soles, one foot rested firmly on the thin slab of a board and the other dragging and pushing the frame of an aching to sail soul down the broken buckling sidewalk. I was at first mesmerized by the calling of, well of that middle name thing but I was quickly jarred back into my reality when I saw that the “Young man” fleeing and exercising his summer was my age, older than my age actually, probably had ten years on me and here he was, jeans, skater sneaks, sailing, rolling over broken bits and letting his heart thump away a soundtrack of long ago.
Might have been the gin, might have been that damn soundtrack but I found myself speeding ahead, pulling along the right side of the road, hitting that hazard button jobbie on my dash and climbing out of my car. Resting my thick rear end against one of those weathered fences watching the salt and pepper hair float in the wind as that grown ass man let his inner him coast. His thin frame evidence of his good behavior, the speed with which his sneaker clad foot raked and pulled at the concrete evidence of his rebellion and ache, “got me on my knees Layla” still pumping through my speakers adding to the “pop, scrape” and “hum” the beauty of the realness so powerful it nearly brought a tear to my weary and not-as-cynical-as-I’d-like-to-think eye. Ended up crossing four lanes of pre-freeway traffic just to sit closer and smell the sensual aromatic of clean but freshly sweating skin, feel the pulse of not giving a fuck, for a second, and be reminded that no matter how old we are we still ache for, and crave that heart thumping.
His name and scent now part of my heart pounding. My fearless stopping of his ride to tell him how much watching, feeling, hearing, smelling and comprehending his feelings meant to me, adding to his heart-pounding and making us both bits of left behind road to smile about as we rode over them on our way back to the voices that called us for dinner.
Wheels not so much needing of reinventing, just maybe craving some fresh air and heart pounding.