Ben, a pale redhead, was Doug’s best friend. They both studied to become mechanics, they liked to drink beer, and they liked to drive fast. The next day at lunch Doug told the story of what he and Ben had done the night before.
“Ben was driving up Broadway last night, and all of a sudden we saw a cop’s lights come on. The cop pulled out after us. Ben wanted to stop and pull over, but “Rhiannon” by Fleetwood Mac was on the radio, and I told him, “Keep going! This is a good song.” Ben sped up, he was doing 80 in a 30. We kept going until we were out of the city, and went up on the back roads. We pulled into the road behind the gas station, and turned the lights off. We saw the cop go right past us. We got away.” Doug laughed.
When you date a Motorhead you have to realize a few things. First, he will love you more than any other human, but he will always love his car first. Second, the faster he goes, the better he feels.
“So, Saturday night, would you like to go to dinner and a movie?” Doug asked me.
“Sure, that sounds good. There is a movie I really want to see about Life after Death.”
. The movie told stories of several people who had clinically died, and then were resuscitated in hospitals. The doctors and nurses witnessed their recovery. The people who died reported seeing a bright white light, feeling a sensation of going through a tunnel, and encountering a being of light on the other side of the tunnel.
But the people who killed themselves had a totally different experience. When these folks were revived, they told horrible stories. They were sent into darkness; monster-like beings grabbed them and forced them to go where they did not want to go. There was great pain and torture and fire.
Somehow I knew that this was true; if you killed yourself you went to hell forever. There is no escape (unless you are immediately resuscitated). Once you are dead, there is no way to get out of hell.
I decided no matter how bad things got in my life, there was somehow a way to hang on and just keep pushing forward, just keep waiting for a change, just keep persevering. Life will come to an end somehow and I can find Heaven. It was not worth trying to escape the pain of this life, only to be miserable forever.
This movie saved my life.
During the next week, Doug came by after school and we planned our next date. Just before he left for work, we were in my parents’ living room, standing by the doorway, just out of reach of Mother’s eyes. And that’s where we first kissed.
Before he picked me up Saturday, he called and asked, “What color pants are you wearing?”
“I’m going to wear my green corduroys.”
When Doug arrived, he was also wearing green corduroys. It became a thing for us; wearing the same color pants on Saturday nights. We matched.
We went out to dinner at one of those dimly lit Steak Houses, with the big loaf of fresh-baked bread as one of the appetizers. The salad bar offered cucumbers in vinegar sauce, which became my favorite vegetable. We always ordered the grilled chicken and shrimp. It seemed expensive to me, and it was nice Doug thought I was worth the expense.
As I continued dating Doug, Father tortured my mind. “Why do you want to go out with him? He’s a “pump jump”; he works at a gas station. He’s never going to be anything. Why don’t you go out with someone else?” Day after day, he bombarded my mind. My opinion never mattered, why should it matter now? Why should who I want to date be any of my own business?
My brain hurt. Why won’t he stop yelling at me? How can I get him to stop? I can’t take anymore. I hate him. I will never forgive him. I can’t wait until I can get a job and afford to move away. Or maybe he’ll die.