Wheels of Fire, a short story by StevenHunley. Date added: 2011-05-07. Times viewed: 1959.
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- Intro: A man suffers break-up pains
Wheels of Fire
“Bitter and sarcastic? I can do bitter and sarcastic. It’s easy if you’re me.”
His slid over the tuck and roll upholstery of his 57 Chevy to get behind the wheel. He remembered how she felt next to him, how she’d lay her hand on his thigh and he’d have to say,
“Hey! I’m driving here!” as if he was irritated as hell. And loving the hell out of how her hand felt against his tightening jeans.
That was last week.
He pulled out the ashtray, and it still had the roach in it, stacked on the pile of grey ashes. It was last week's roach too. And the caps of two Stella Artois.
They used to indulge each other. Wildest Desires, that sort of thing. Who’s Next?, that sort of thing. A Teenage Wasteland kind of torrid affair for adults, that sort of thing.
He reached up on the sun visor to put on his shades. The reflection was so bright he could hardly stand it. They’d polished the hood with their bare bottoms the night before that. They did it quite a job. Detailing they called it. You shoulda seen dem details. Mmm-Mmm.
He remembered her saying, all soft in his ear, "I want this to last forever."
That was last week too.
Then it turned to this week.
She told him,
“It’s not working out. I just wanna be friends.”
Real cruel-like. Over the phone-like.
It was over, ended, nada, zip. It was his turn to sing the “Friend Status” blues.
She didn’t care. The one who does it never does. Never cares a frig. Oops, I mean fig.
Now the ashtray is emptied. Now the warm body next to the driver disappears into Shakespeare’s “Thin air.”
The car couldn’t be more empty. Only his heart could.
No more hand on the thigh. Not a hint of her perfume left in the air. No more taste of her coconut lip gloss on his lips. No more size four and one half lace panties carelessly tossed on the floor with reckless abandon. No more polishing the hood.
Teen age love. Only trouble is he’s 45. Bad serious news to him. Like chained-lightning disguised as a plush toy.
Words that cut like a knife, pierce like the sword of El Cid, sounding friendly, but out of the mouth of a traitor, the words,
“But we can be friends forever. Forever.”
Mata Hari never said it better.
She don’t know the meaning of forever. Hurt is forever.
Yet she wants to be, “just friends.”
What a pal.
A guy needs more pals like her. Pals like her don’t grow on trees.
He couldn’t figure it out. It had started out White Room and ended up Deserted Cities of the Heart.
My thanks to Jack and Ginger and Eric for the desperation, and of course, to Her. Hopes, when they're dashed, create quite a clatter and awaken the dreamer from his dream. It was good while it lasted. The best dream I ever had. Where the Wheels of Fire take us next I can hardly imagine.
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