Thursday, May 20, 2010

I had the kind of crush you have when you’re seven and you don’t realize somebody’s your cousin.

I thought he looked like the picture of Jesus from Grandma’s wall. And Jesus was hot.

One day he asked me if I wanted a ride in his Dunebuggy. He pulled back the tarp and I thought it didn’t look like it was finished. I could see the skeleton. There were no doors, no windows, no roof. I didn’t think it cold go very fast. Looked like it might fall apart.

He got behind the wheel and I just stood there like a puppet with nobody to pull her strings.

“What’s the matter you scared?” He said.

“No,” I said. And I climbed in.

That seatbelt was like a harness but that was all that held me in. I thought about getting out. But I wouldn’t let myself be a chicken. I mean, this was supposed to be fun, right? He started the engine and yelled something I couldn’t hear and off we went. The ground went by so close I could have reached out to touch it. I held my breath. Dust swirled up from the ground. We sped across the lot and spun in a circle.

My cousin rolled his car the following October. It was the same year Elvis died

If I had been there at the edge of that desert highway in my patent leather shoes and tights—the ones you made fun of—I would have held your hand and told you it would be alright. And I would have been wrong.

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