When I try to think of all the classically teenager-ish things I’ve done, I come up with a very short list. I do not drink, I do not smoke, I have never dyed my hair, or even gone as far as to curse. I do, however, love spontaneous (though safe and tame) adventures. So last night when George called me asking if I wanted to be kidnapped, I said yes.
I raced through the house putting on real pants instead of pajama shorts and eating my dinner as fast I could. Several large mouthfuls later, I was flying out the door and into Cecelia’s car. With George and Doc in the back and Cecelia at the wheel, we drove through town to the diner on the edge of the highway. As we walked across the damp parking lot, I thought about how strange it was that I’ve only ever visited that diner at night. And never eight o’clock night. I’m always in there well after ten and with a group of people. The food isn’t that great, but with the exception of fastfood from a few towns away, it’s the best there is at that hour.
When we were seated in a booth, and I was drinking water out of the clear plastic cup, the same type that every diner seems to have, I couldn’t help but feel sad that everything would soon be coming to a close. People that I have adored and admired for years will be leaving, scattering their different ways. Cecelia’s off to Yale, Doc to Boston, and George to England. And while I know that I will definitely see Cecelia and George again, I don’t know if I’ll ever even talk to Doc once high school is over. Unless I have a terribly close bond with someone, this is it. I might run into them at a graduation party or see them at prom, but the prospect of a proper conversation is minimal. And that is all terribly depressing.
But it wasn’t the time for missing people just yet. I could do that tomorrow. Tonight was for having fun. Cecelia received a suspiciously green veggie burger, and I happily spread jelly on my toast. But best of all, we just talked. There were stories about people we know and the crazy, interesting, funny things they’ve done, and laughter. Lots and lots of laughter. The meal seemed to end all too soon, and we were once again back in the car, headlights against the dark on a mostly empty road.
No one wanted to head back just yet, so we drove around while George and Cecelia looked for the “scary street.” It ended up being the street that wraps its way up through the mountain and past the reservoir. It’s all twisting and curvy, and with the mist hanging low and the yellow reflective signs telling us to turn this way, it is kind of creepy. But I wasn’t scared–it just spoke to me of night driving. The type of driving where you just go and go and go forever until you drift off with your neck at an uncomfortable angle only to wake up and discover yourself in a place starkly different from the one you fell asleep to. The type of driving that puts you halfway to Tampa or in the suburbs of Portland in the early morning light. But we didn’t go that far. Cecelia just swung the car around at the end of the reservoir and drove us all home.