A Classic

by Alice Woodrome

Me, back then

Roy was a good friend of my brother and he had the hots for me. I know because my brother told me, not because of anything Roy said or did. Roy was not the greatest looking kid in high school, but he came from a wealthy family and was an honor student, so that gave him some social status within the strict high school hierarchy of our small river city. His blue and white 57 Ford Fairlane with dual exhaust didn't hurt either. But I wasn't interested. I had set my cap for a basketball jock with dark hair and dreamy eyes. But that's another story.

I was fifteen -- a graduate of driver's-ed and just weeks away from my driver's license test, but with very little experience behind the wheel. So when Roy offered to let me practice driving his Fairlane, I took him up on it. It was a stick shift, but most everyone drove them back then. If you didn't know how to drive a car with a standard transmission then you didn't really know how to drive. I was happy for the opportunity.

I didn't know that Roy intended to sit so close to me that I was practically on his lap, but I guess to Roy's mind, that is what made the bargain worth it. He was, after all, letting an inexperienced kid behind the wheel of his precious Fairlane. And he loved that car. But hormones will make a boy do risky things, and letting me behind the wheel proved to be risky, indeed.

I jerked along for two blocks shifting and I guess nearly stripping the gears before Roy had had enough.

"Stop," he muttered. "Stop right here."

He got out without another word and went around to the driver's side and got in. I scooted over to the passenger side to let him in. My lesson was over. He drove me home silently. I don't know exactly what was in his mind, but he never said another word about driving or the car -- or anything to me.

At least after that I knew where Roy's priorities were. No girl was worth a broken transmission.