#1: Car Troubles

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It was a Friday.

A normal Friday, really. At least it must have started out that way because I can't recall anything special occurring during my classes.

It did preclude our school's first three-day weekend of the semester, if you count that as unusual. I remember because after all my classes I went to train, and I had the boxing gym all to myself. Usually there's a bunch of sweaty guys—and a few not-so-sweaty girls like me—training and working the bags, but that day I had first pick of all the stations.

I was feeling quite good after releasing all those endorphins into my system. So much so that I didn't give much thought to the dark clouds forming in the distance as I made my way to my truck.

My car, an old, beat-up Ford Ranger, had windshield wipers that streaked so badly in the rain you had to hold your head just so to see out. So storms usually bother me.

But no. I wasn't going to let it bother me today. My post-workout happy feelings coupled with the excitement of looking forward to watching a marathon of my favorite show on Animal Planet with my gerbil Walter trumped streaky windshields.

Oh, how quickly emotions can turn.

I climbed in the cab of my truck and turned the key.

The engine sputtered, then died.

I tried again, adding a little verbal encouragement.

"C'mon, Aragorn, old boy."

The engine refused to turn.

My spirits were dampened, but I was still hopeful at this point. I looked around the parking lot—maybe someone could give me a jump, or even a ride home.

I glanced to my left.

Nothing.

I glanced hopefully to my right.

No one.

Apparently, I had completely missed out on whatever it was that college students do with their three day weekends. I still haven't figured out what it is, but I can tell you it's not working out for three hours after your last class.

Sighing, I decided to whip out my cell phone and begin down the list of "Friends with Cars Who Don't Mind Rescuing Me at Random Times."

With a car as old as mine, these things happen and such lists are born.

But after the fifth "Sorry babe/dear/dudette! We've already left for the beach/city/bar! Don't wanna waste the extended weekend!" I began to get extremely discouraged.

I attempted a few calls to my mom, but she didn't pick up. Probably in some meeting or something.

And my dad, well, I didn't even bother trying, what with him being in Alaska and all.

I gave one last hopeful scan of the parking lot.

Still no one.

With a reluctant sigh, I decided to foot it. It was only an hour's walk away and some additional exercise wouldn't kill me. Hoisting my backpack and gym bag out of the car, mindfully locking it, I began my trek.

Looking back, I suppose I could have taken the bus. Should have, really. But I tried to avoid it as much as possible. Public transportation and I do not mix well.

As I walked, I began feeling better. All these thoughts about taking charge of the situation, dealing with whatever problems came my way, never backing down, yada yada, made me feel pretty good about myself.

If I had known the walk home would change my current situation as much as it did, I would have chosen the bus. Or I maybe I wouldn't, I still don't know how I feel about the whole thing.

But this I am sure of.

Things did change.

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Author's Note: The fifth version of chapter one! Uploaded June, 2009. If you notice any plot holes from missing information that used to be there, feel free to point them out as you go along. I will attempt to resolve them all in the final version of this story. As always, I invite and appreciate any and all constructive input. You guys are the best :)