pages First Ride’s Free

by Cara Lang

Published in Issue No. 248 ~ January, 2018

No GPS. No phones. No data. Just maps, and notebooks and silent moments between here and there. Heading into the unknown: motorcycle leathers and an open road. I’ll hold you close. Don’t worry about holding too tightly, you say, and it’s okay if you bump into me, I’ll be ready. Learn to lean into the corners. No talking, just forward motion. My helmet hits yours ten times over. I’m all nerves and fear of dying, and then I breathe so slowly there is no room for thinking—and looking out into the bay, I forget to lean.

In the morning I fill my pockets with loose-leaf tea (Darjeeling, bergamot, lavender) when you tell me you don’t drink coffee. I’ll manage, I reply.

We find a place to rest our heads. The stars are always moving. I don’t want to say I’ll follow you. This may have been my idea from the start. Even still, I willingly lean into your lead.

On foot you reach back to grab my hand; I let you take it. We cross the street in the dark of night: willingly jerked. Your hesitance is unfamiliar. I’m more used to a constant tug.

On the way back I wrap my legs around you and the hum of the engine. Squeeze into the reverberation. Wonder if it’s possible to cum. I’m not comfortable with public displays of affection, you told me earlier in the evening before it began to rain.

We carry on. Wash our underwear in rest stop bathrooms. Sit on barstools next to bearded men in bandanas. I wonder if you want to kiss them.

There is no room for extra baggage, you say, just a single tent and sleeping pad. One change of clothes. Is all. This ride was not built for two.

Bartender lets me use the phone behind the bar. Thank god for cab drivers. I spell god with a small g because I don’t believe in the capital. Cabbie lets me pay him with a check. Drives me all the way across the border. Take me away, I say, and he heads South. Or was it East. When I wake up, I am somewhere else entirely, signing my name and adding xxx’s. I always liked the way it felt to make out a check. Other kids played house but my brother and me we played bank.

We all rebel from whence we came.