Latest Forum Posts:


A perfect Sky

A road trip to SF in the 60's becomes something else

It had been a perfect day. Raindrops had been misting out of the April sky for hours, long enough for the squeaky scrape of windscreen wipers to become just another part of the aural landscape. In his rearview mirror, Topeka had become nothing more then a gray smudge on the horizon, another in a long line of cities through which he’d passed on his way west as he barreled along the highway, windows down to let in the miserable chill.

She’d appeared on the side of the road like a ghostly apparition, the morning drizzle clinging to her like a shroud, and he’d almost driven past before spotting the upturned thumb and soggy cardboard sign she’d held up in the air. The Falcon coasted to a slow stop as he veered to the shoulder, leaning across padded seat to roll the window down. He was rewarded by the brightest smile he’d seen in days, and returned it with an amiable one of his own. She looked a few years younger than his own 21, dirty looking blonde hair plastered to her cheeks under a wide brimmed yellow hat, sky blue eyes wide with optimism and hope despite the visible shiver that shook through her.

"Where you headed?" she asked of him as she opened the car door, not bothering to wait for the offer of a ride, convinced that it was hers already. She slid over, the vinyl at first resisting the wet denim of her bell bottoms, and pulled the door shut behind her.

"California. I hear it’s the place to be. What about you?"

She shrugged, tossing her hat into the back seat along with an over the shoulder bag that looked like it weighed as much as she did, even soaking wet.

"As far as you’ll take me. I’m Ronnie."

They’d stopped at the next Texaco and she’d changed in the bathroom, laying her damp clothes on the floorboards beneath the heater to dry out as they rode along with nothing better to do than share their lives. By evening, he’d decided that a few days riding along with Ronnie would be days well spent, and she’d come to the same conclusion.

"I don’t have enough for a motel," he admitted to her as the light began to fade, the clouds struggling off to the east. "Been sleeping in the back seat mostly."

"That’s cool. There’s room enough on the front for me. I’ve got dinner handled if you don’t mind Vienna sausages and Triscuits?"

"Sounds good to me."

It was nice to be sharing a meal with someone. Up until now, even when he was giving someone a ride, he felt the hooks of loneliness set into his soul. For the first time since leaving Allentown, he felt free of that feeling, free to smile, to laugh. He hadn’t been sure what he’d been looking for when he’d left for the West Coast, but he began to wonder if he’d just figured it out. Someone to share his journey.

"Good night, Rick. Sweet dreams," she called out from her makeshift bed on the front seat, using one of his clean flannel shirts as a pillow, her voice already half mired in sleep.

"Good night, Ronnie. Same to you."

It was fitting that they arrived in California on Independence Day. In a way, he was sorry that the long trip was finally over, and their destination in sight. Somewhere in the middle of the longest, loneliest stretch of desert, Ronnie had abandoned the front seat. It made for a crowded bed, not that he minded. To have someone to hold against him, the beat of their hearts separated by mere flesh, was newfound bliss.

In the weeks spent driving, they’d shared everything. Ronnie had a way of making him open up and soon, they were sharing more than food. He’d been the only son of a soldier turned steelworker. She was the youngest of four. Neither of them felt like they were wanted or needed, both of them had always felt alone. They shared hopes and dreams and fears and talked about what they’d do when they finally reached California. She wanted to write, while he thought that maybe he could make it in a band. In the Falcon’s trunk was the second most precious thing in the world, his guitar.

On dry nights, they’d sit outside on the single blanket he owned, and he’d play for her, while she shyly sang along, sharing a box of crackers and Kool-Aid or, on those nights that they’d splurged in town, Bologna and cheese sandwiches and cheap wine.

Then, one night in the midst of a thunderstorm somewhere in Arizona, they’d shared more than just stories. It hadn’t been his first time kissing a girl, but afterwards he wondered if maybe the others hadn’t been real kisses. Nothing had prepared him for a kiss that lasts a lifetime and seemed to light them both up from within. It had been after they’d shared a joint, a gift from another hitchhiker who they’d dropped off in Phoenix. Somehow it had seemed natural for his lips to explore her face, her neck, her shoulders, her breasts.

They’d made love three times that night and, every night since, they’d lain in each other arms, naked under their single blanket. The desert stars twinkled far above them and the moon cast her silver blessings that night. Each night he’d fallen a little bit more in love with her and she with him. By the time they passed the sign declaring their arrival, they were deeply and madly in love.

"I love you, Ronnie. Promise me you won’t leave when we get to Frisco," he’d told her over bologna and cheese sandwiches, their love nest parked just outside of Sacramento, the promise of stars above them.

"I promise. I love you too," she’d breathed, joy making her eyes glisten like jewels with unshed tears. "We’ll make it work, baby. Somehow, we’ll make it work. If we can just get there, Ricky, we’ll be okay. I just know it."

That night, he held her close, listening to her breathing beside him, her heart beating against his. In the morning, she was gone. With a soft sigh, he rolled over, staring at the horizon, longing for one last glimpse of her beneath the most perfect sky he’d ever seen.

This story is protected by International Copyright Law, by the author, all rights reserved. If found posted anywhere other than with this note attached, it has been posted without my permission.

To link to this story from your site - please use the following code:

<a href="">A perfect Sky</a>

Comments (5)

Tell us why

Please tell us why you think this story should be removed.