I hated that thing.
Its sleek red frame taunted me as if it were human; its cold metal exterior glinted exuberantly as it caught the final rays of the setting sun. It rested primly upon its single stand, exuding grace and beauty and everything else that embodied the lust of the male psyche and portrayed all of my worst fears. Its heavy engine growled loudly, almost mocking my deep rooted envy and disdain until it finally rumbled away into silence. The smoke that spilled from its enormous modified muffler ceased, leaving a trail of black to spiral away into the sky and further pollute the atmosphere.
He swung one leg over the side to stand in front of me, pulling his matching red helmet from his head to reveal the gorgeous face I had fallen in love with in high school. His black curls stuck to his creamy skin with sweat, which he generously smeared all over me as he lifted me in one of his usual embraces. The gleaming in his blue eyes caused my heart to pitter patter in the way it had since I was a little school girl, and had never failed to do so even now that we were newly college graduates.
"Let's go for a ride," he breathed into my hair, his words tickling my skin.
"No," I refused, returning his hug with a weak grip of my own. "You know how much I hate it."
"Stop being such chicken shit. You'll love it."
Slightly annoyed, I broke our embrace to stand in front of him, my lips curled into a defiant pout. With my hands fastened at my hips, I made it boisterously clear that I was not going anywhere near that two-wheeled chariot from hell, denying the fact that it was my absolute terror of speed that refrained me from doing so. He only laughed, his perfect mouth coiling into a devilishly handsome smirk while he linked his arms around my waist. He twirled me around in the air for several seconds; his happiness was just so damn contagious.
"Please?" he begged, his baby blue eyes twinkling. "For my graduation gift?"
"That is your graduation gift," I fought back, though my heart was so obviously melting in his grasp.
"Babe! My parents gave it to me for my eighteenth birthday!"
"Goodness, I'm kidding."
"So you'll do it?"
His eyes were so alight with joy that I thought his head might burst with such high spirits. His smile had stretched so wide it threatened to split his face in two; with a look like that, it was near impossible to say no to him. So with the heaviest heart and utmost refusal inside my head screaming to do the opposite, I gave in. He awarded me with a sloppy wet kiss on the lips, sending a hundred watt shock through my limbs and reminding me of just how much I adored him, and why.
He was always the one to break me out of my nerdy shell and love me anyway.
So without further ado, I climbed onto his crotch rocket and straddled him for dear life, even before he turned the damned thing on. It vibrated wildly beneath me, almost like an angry stallion preparing to buck its next rider off at the rodeo. The heat of its inner workings glued my flesh to my clothes, but that never loosened the grip I had constricted around his torso. Resting my face against his strong back, I shut my eyes; with a reassuring squeeze of my hand from his, we jetted off, making me scream with shock at the sudden outburst.
I didn't dare to open my eyelids as the rapid winds began to nip at my cheeks, stretching into my hair to make it whip around crazily behind me like a flag. I could hear him laughing to himself, tickled at my display of vulnerability and utter horror. My muscles quickly began to ache from being so taut around him, but just feeling him gave me enough comfort to endure the agonizing journey to nowhere. My grasp had begun to loosen considerably much more than I had started with, until the motorcycle gave a perfectly timed lurch beneath me and immediately returned my stronghold around him.
"Do you trust me?" he asked, his voice barely audible through the insulation of the helmet and the roaring motorcycle beneath us.
"What?" was the only response I was able to spit out.
"Do you trust me?"
"Of course I trust you!"
"Then let go of me!"
"What the hell? Are you kidding me?"
"Nope. Let go of me!"
"Like hell I won't!"
"Just do it, baby."
His tone was so confusingly sincere and reassured that I couldn't help but wonder what exactly he was plotting in his mind, or if it even existed in the first place. In absolute denial of his dirt-stupid request, I tightened my arms around his midriff and pressed my face further into his back. I could smell his skin beneath the thin cloth of his t-shirt, and regardless of how crazy he was, I fell in love with him all over again. My eyes had been shut the entire time, but slowly and surely I could feel them opening again, ignoring the bite of the wind slapping against them.
With my legs pressed taut against his for support, I uncoiled myself from around him, allowing my arms to lift into the air and touch the atmosphere fighting against us. The cool air kissed my fingertips, sending shivers along my spine and creating goose pimples on the surface of my skin. I could feel a smile turn the corners of my mouth upward, and as if it were instinct, an excited yell burst from deep within my stomach. At that very moment, every pressure of fear and paranoia was shouted into the sky, dying instantly as I leaned my head back to stare into heaven.
"That's my girl," he cooed, one of his hands stroking my leg.
I could feel the whipping wind becoming more aggressive, no longer gingerly licking my skin anymore but beginning to claw at it. I heard him laugh as I wobbled on the seat, wrapping my arms back around his torso. I shook him a little bit, pressing my cheek to his shoulder blade and breathing heavily as the fear that bubbled in my gut subsided. The long stretch of road dipped us into a small turn, increasing my ever growing anxiety.
"Slow down," I pleaded, trying by best not to nag him. "This is getting scary."
"No way, this is fun!"
"No it's not. Please, I'm really scared."
"Then tell me you love me."
At this point in time my heart was hammering uncontrollably against my chest, so much so that I thought he could feel it too. My eyes danced and ached as I watched the setting around us fade into a blur of beautiful colors, but I was way too frightened to appreciate them. I could feel his fingers gently slide over my knee in one of those reassuring rituals he always seemed to perform. I took a deep breath.
"I love you," I said, like I had so many times before. "Now slow down."
"Not before you give me a hug first."
"I'm already hugging you!"
"Just a little tighter."
I rolled my eyes at his refusal to adhere to my pleading and squeezed his thick midsection, inhaling his scent in the process. He was always making me do things before he would act on my request, which was curiously only during times like this.
"Can you take my helmet off?" he asked, nodding his head side to side for emphasis. "It's kinda bothering me. And your hair looks a little crazy... you should put it on."
"Gee, you're sweet," I retorted, doing as he asked. "Thanks for the sentiment."
I fashioned the heavy helmet over my head, locking it in place and tapping him on the shoulder, trying to remind him of all the tasks I completed and the reward that should soon be following. The only acknowledgment I received was a tight squeeze to my hand, his fingers lacing into mine and his lips kissing the skin on my knuckles. For a few moments, he cradled my fist against the soft, slick skin of his cheek, and even with the wind still sweeping against me I could feel his warm breath on my fingers.
That's when it happened.
The motorcycle lurched beneath us, and I could see the muscles bulging in his arms as he wrestled it to the ground, fighting it as it swerved crazily before it crashed to the asphalt, still skidding at high velocity. A searing pain ripped through my leg as I felt the friction of the road sliding quickly beneath us melt the cloth of my blue jeans and tear my skin to shreds. Then I felt his body fall away from me, leaving the imprint of where he once was against my skin before a white hot agony totally consumed me. I succumbed to the white light that had spread rapidly into my eyesight - for a minute I thought we might have raced into the sun - and then I felt peaceful.
It was the peace I got when he hugged me.
It was the peace I got when he embraced me whenever I cried, silently assuring me that he would crush whatever was hurting me with his bare hands.
It was the peace I got when we first kissed, when we first watched a scary movie together, when we first fell asleep on the floor in my living room.
It was that kind of serenity, and I never wanted it to end - but end it did, only to be replaced by a numb throbbing through every cavity in my body. The white faded into the pale walls of a hospital, and soon muffled voices began to grow just a little clearer, but not enough to where I could understand what they were saying. People in surgical masks and medical scrubs were looming above me, wheeling me somewhere on what I could only assume was a gurney and shouting to each other in a panic. My eyes searched around for answers, for anything that might clue me in on what chaos was unfolding around me and why - but my requests, like most, would go unanswered as I fell back into that peaceful sleep.
Everything around me was white again, except for a shock of colors some ten feet ahead of me. It seemed to be painting a picture - I recognized that head of unruly black curls instantly - and I approached it, only to find my beloved perched on top of a rickety stool, painting away with his fingers on a white canvas. I inquired about what he was doing in a scary place like this, but he only chuckled and continued what he was doing.
"What's it look like I'm doing?" he retorted, his voice simultaneously mischievous and sweet.
Being a fool, obviously. Now wasn't the time to be painting pictures - what was there to paint, anyway? We were in a white room filled with nothing... and it was creeping me out. My lethal claustrophobia was to blame for the uneasiness that resided within me, and I guess he knew that just as well as I did.
"It isn't creepy," he replied, dipping his fingers in a cup of pink paint I failed to see earlier. "I like it here."
Well, I wanted to leave. And following my protest was a series of babbling to remind him of the future that lay before us, of the unsaid plans that were awaiting us now that we finally finished college. I ended my declaration with a reminder that bland rooms frightened me, and a fervent plea to leave. I could see his shoulders rise and fall quickly, and the sound of his lighthearted chuckling accumulating to the motion.
"Then tell me you love me," he said defiantly. I could see the wide smile on his face even though his back still faced me.
I love him so much, words couldn't express how obviously my heart broadcasts the notion to the rest of my body. My body synchronizes with the beating of my heart, adhering to every command and request that it dictates to my mind.
"Now give me a hug."
I wrapped my arms around his torso and breathed him in, allowing his warmth to consume me.
"Do you trust me?" he asked.
Of course I trust him. Why was he acting so strangely, asking all these obvious (and pretty damn stupid)questions? This, of course, would go ignored and unanswered. At that moment though, that really was the least of my worries. In fact, at that exact moment, frozen in eternity, there existed no worries.
"Then let me go."
I had to fight myself to pull away, puzzled at his indecisive bidding. When I did, he turned around in his seat to face me, his eyes shining blithely. They sparkled like aquamarine jewels in his sockets as his white-toothed grin broadened and he pointed to the canvas with his paint stained fingers. My attention followed his direction, only to have the image of a glorious multicolored sunset fill my line of sight. He beamed proudly at me, his face so full of love and happiness and everything I never wanted to lose but never deserved in the first place.
"I love you so much," he stated, sweetly at first. "But don't you have somewhere else to be? Like, celebrating your post-grad life or something?"
Gee, you're sweet, I thought. Thanks for the sentiment.
And even though I didn't want to leave him now, regardless of the white room threatening to heighten my claustrophobia that had been ignored until that moment, I felt myself being pulled away. Almost like I was being dragged back to earth. His smile was so goofy and handsome and perfect and it never left his glowing face even after I couldn't see him anymore, but knew that he had turned back around to continue painting or whatever he wanted to do.
"Can you hear me?" came a distant, unfamiliar voice. "Open your eyes if you can hear me."
And I did.
It was relatively easy, even after the peaceful feeling had waned and the white room faded into one with a little more color and some furniture in it. I peeled back my lids to stare up into the face of what appeared to be a rather good looking doctor. He was shining a bright light into my eyes, and when he realized I had opened them, graced me with a very warm, almost relieved smile. He fell away a little bit, but I followed after his image while I pushed myself to sit, suddenly becoming aware that I was laying in a hospital bed with various wires connected to me.
It was then, by his explanation, that I learned the brakes on the motorcycle had failed - my goofy and handsome and perfect college graduate must have known somewhere along the way - and if I hadn't been wearing a helmet, I would have crashed into the cliff wall at the end of the stretch of road and died instantly.
Curiously, he added, the motorcycle hadn't been irreversibly totaled, and after some greased-elbow effort, could be in working condition again in no time.
This little number was inspired by the touching story about a man and his selfless act for the sake of his beloved. If it seemed familiar to you, that's why. This was simply my spin on the story, and I claim no credit where it isn't due.