Sunday, March 10, 2013

Driving Miss Harvey



I think I fell in L-word once.  Well, almost. 

When I was 17 years old a beautiful girl with intoxicating black hair knocked on my apartment door and asked if anyone was going north for the weekend.  This is the part where you slow time down to a standstill with “Lady in Red” playing in the background while I nod my head slowly and have a Subway sandwich falling out of my mouth, stunned by the surprise maiden’s beauty. 

“Uh, yeah… I am.” I said.  I really wasn’t.

“Great.  Well how about we take off in half an hour?  Does that work for you?” she asked.

I nodded my head in a stupor. 

“You are such a lifesaver.  Thank you SO much! Oh and my name’s Chelsey.  Chelsey Harvey.”

I smiled like a twitterpated third-grader and watched her walk back to her apartment.  I think this is what Hollywood screenwriters call “being smitten”.  You see kids, I had no reason whatsoever to drive five hours north that weekend, none at all.  In fact, that distance was one of the main reasons I went to college in the first place; to get as far away from the place that I wasn’t proud to call home, only popping back in every third Christmas when I had to.  But when Miss Harvey knocked on my door and asked for a ride, all of my reasoning went out the window. That’s usually the case when 17-year old pimples like myself get a taste of what society calls “the L-word”.

In my eyes, Miss Harvey was out of my league.  WAY, out of my league.  She was a drop-dead gorgeous dancer with standards and values that put Mother Teresa to shame. Meanwhile, I was a 17-year old nincompoop living off nachos and Mt. Dew who used Chris Farley as a role model.  Out of my league I tell you. I didn’t even feel like I belonged in the same time zone as this girl, let alone to be used as her personal chauffer.  

“You have a lot of music in here” she asked me on the ride home.  “Do you like to sing or something?”

I smiled back at her.  “Well, I was in choir back in high school, but I’m nothin’ special.”

Her eyes lit up. “Really?  Sing me something.  Anything!  I want to hear!”

This is the part where the clock on my dashboard clicked just after midnight, and the mile markers rolled on somewhere in the mid 150’s, and I bashfully sang an acoustic version of “More Than Words” with BBMak as my accompaniment.  Meanwhile Miss Harvey sat wide-eyed in the passenger bucket seat and savored every note that rolled off my tongue. 

“Sing it again.” She said when the final chord faded out.   

I gave her a puzzled look back.

“Again.  Sing it again.  Or sing me something else.  You are incredible!  And I just want to hear you sing to me.”

Hearing those words coming from who I pictured as the most beautiful girl I had laid eyes on in my entire 17-year existence will really boost a teenager’s self esteem.  Hearing those words made me feel like I was starting to fall in L-word with someone. Shocking, I know. 

And that’s how it began.  Every few weeks Miss Harvey would come knocking on cue on a Friday afternoon, ask around if anyone was headed north, in which I would toss whatever responsibilities and prior engagements I had to the side and pack up my 92 Nissan pickup with our duffel bags. I didn’t care about loads of homework, potential work shifts, or anything else for that matter, my life revolved around this girl, whenever she needed a lift. 

For two years we did this.  Spur of the moment trips where the two of us would hit the road together.  Countless rides were shared where she would tell me about her family, about her dancing career, about her best friend who was getting ready to go on a mission, and I would sing to her for hours while we passed Fillmore and Beaver and Cedar City, with her restarting the songs every time I thought she had drifted off to sleep. Every few weeks for two whole years we just shared the road together. I sang, she talked, and the miles just passed us by.  You can’t write a better chick-flick plot, I’m telling you. 

At that point in my life, rides with Miss Harvey were some of the only things that I looked forward to. They were my motivation to be a better person, to truly care for another individual whole-heartedly, to sacrifice time, money, and passing grades in History 1700 just to be with another person.  But, as with everything in life, things change. People go different ways.  I packed my bags for two years in Virginia, and she had one of those formal ceremonies that changed her last name to Peterson. We never had our rides anymore, and as one of my only regrets in life, I never got to tell the girl that I think I loved her.

As cliché as the phrase sounds, hindsight truly is always 20/20.        

I don’t think this story has been triggered by a rush of emotions, or that I’m at the precipice of a serious relationship and there is someone I think I’m truly falling for, that’s not the case at all.  I’m just a young buck who lives vicariously through Ted Mosby and still thinks Dumb and Dumber is a quality movie.  All I’m saying is this: if at some point in my meager existence I was willing to do absolutely anything and everything I could to please a girl who I hands down didn’t deserve; if those feelings were stirred somehow in the slightest degree whatsoever, then at least I know they exist. That they are real, that true L-word really is out there.   

And maybe I’ll feel those same things again the next time a random girl knocks on my door needing a ride somewhere.

What do you think?

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