I wrapped my arms around his waist and glanced back at the old apartment. The scratched up brown door looked the same, the curtains drawn, whether I was home or not. It would be at least a week, maybe more. Or maybe no one would notice. Maybe it was better that way.
I tightened the straps of my backpack and tore the flimsy paper ID in two jagged pieces. They floated effortlessly into the street trash can.
“You ready?” he called as the bike roared to life.
I tightened my grip around his thin middle and he hit the kickstand. Like Midwest lightening, we were off. The wind tickled my hair angrily as I buried my face in his back. My pores sang the tune of cowardly instinct and my eyes squeezed shut at the thought. Corn fields and county roads were not hard to leave, but the person I knew must stay behind. She would not endure the impulse. She would not survive the fall.
The highway came sooner than I expected and he navigated the ramp with ease. It was truly over now. Very little had come with me outside that which fit in the pockets of my ripped jeans. Maybe he was leaving it all behind too; or maybe he had nothing in the first place. Perhaps deep down he was the vagabond he appeared to be, or maybe he had a wife and three kids now destitute.
It was no matter. The moment I locked my gaze on those blue eyes that sat emotionless above his thin leather jacket, my whole body came alive. If he was heading west, I would be too. If he were to offer passage to hell, I’d extend an innocent hand. As long as I could touch him. Feel his breath on my neck. My first obsession.
And like a hurricane meets a dying angel, he placated me. He conversed like the wolf speaks with the panther: all danger and prowess but not a comprehensible word. I held on for the dear life and didn’t let go until I was on the back of that bike.
His demeanor reeked of his own flavor of success, a kind only the misunderstood can produce. It enveloped me, suffocated me as we flew down that tainted road. Pain never felt so beautiful; perfection never tasted so bland.
I clutched the thick cloth of his leather jacket between my dainty fingers. He would expect more of me – too much, no doubt. As always, prison would be survival. Silence would be bliss. Let the humming energy between us do the talking, yelling louder than the squeals of burning rubber that infested the ragged music of his soul. Louder than the denial of one so lost in the gaping grips of mediocrity that even the scrape of her skin against the hot grainy cement felt like heaven. Louder than the skull cracking against asphalt, the twisting of metal, and the screams I refused to own. Louder than the shredding of his jacket as he slid down the street, a splintered water slide.
Louder than the faint drip of deep red blood in the corner of my vision as I reached for him. Louder than his torn body that stood and turned from me.
Softer than the moan that escaped my broken lips as my body flailed and the world began to fade.
Softer than his footsteps that walked silently away.