Just get me out of this car
"Yeah, like I was saying, this car has a really decent amount of miles to the gallon, when I checked it the other day, the tank was full, now it's just a hair below full. Isn't that great? And…"
He rambled on. And my eye twitched. No no, spasm would be the better word.
The car sped along Front Street as the blurry streetlights twinkled quickly by against the night sky.
"Oh, this is a good song, really great, I remember hearing this on an elevator once. If only I can figure out all the words. I think it's 'Can't leave, can't stay' or is it 'pay'? No…wait yes it-…no…"
I picked at the tiny sparkles in my prom dress and adjusted the browning corsage on my wrist. Just get me home, just get me out of this car, I can't take it anymore…
He rambled on.
" 'Do do n'doo doo' I'll just sing that instead." (laugh) "Aren't the lights nice?"
I swiveled my head to look at him, hopeful.
"Wow, this car is going fast! Feel that? Whoa, better slow down. Isn't that neat? You don't even notice it until you're speeding. Wow, hear it go. See, listen."
There was a five second period of sweet silence in which he restlessly tapped his fingers on the steering wheel then resumed talking.
"Did you ever notice how—"
I brought my hands up and grabbed my head. "What are we talking about?" I said in a low voice. He quit blabbering and gave me a strange look.
"What did you say?"
"I said, what are we talking about? What sort of conversation is this? You're clearly just talking to talk and you have to know that I'm just sitting her like, 'What the heck?'" I shook my head and chuckled a bit.
He took it as a joke and embarrassingly said, "Well, I'm sorry, jeez. I won't talk."
"No, that's not what I mean and you know it."
By this time we were by an Applebees and he parked in the parking lot, where he turned off the engine and looked at the steering wheel.
"Look, I'm nervous as heck, alright? This is pretty much a first for me and I'm just trying not to mess anything up."
"So you sit there and talk about meaningless things, all the while avoiding what's really bothering you?" The twitching had thankfully stopped so I turned to face him and uncrossed my arms. If I learned anything from Health class, it was that having open body language was the key to getting someone to spill their guts to you.
The parking lot's lights stretched to a few feet from the car, leaving us sitting in a dark cocoon, which made me surprisingly relaxed. Happy diners walked leisurely in and out of the restaurant's doors, releasing snatches of conversation and tinkling silverware with each open and shut.
He finally spoke.
"When I asked you to go to prom, it was just a friendly gesture. You know, we were both stuck without a date and the thought of going stag was never too appealing." He gave me a tired grin, and I grinned back. He continued on.
"So we did our thing. We dressed for success, sent the rents to picture heaven and went to prom. Which was fun by the way. Didn't you think?"
My leg shot out on its own, making my knee smack into the dash board with a loud 'thwack!'. He looked at me with a curious smile.
"Are you alright?"
I bit back the pain and nodded.
Oh no, the twitches are back.
"So yeah", he said, "All was good there until we got in the car to go home and…I don't know about you, but I felt really awkward, like I was supposed to start commenting on how good you look, put in a Barry white CD and drive to an undisclosed location where we—"
"Okay! I get it." I interrupted, nervously laughing louder then I meant to. Tiny beads of sweat tickled the tip of my nose. This conversation wasn't going exactly as planned.
"So," he went on, "I guess I'm sorry for trying to talk around all that nervousness, cause hey, we've been friends for a while, we're comfortable enough with each other to joke about it and write it off as a hilarious after-prom story, right?" He looked at me expectantly.
Our whole relationship was riding on what I would say next. If I said yes, we'd bury this awkward moment into the friendship hole and never speak of it again. But if I said no, we'd be forced to question the seriousness of our relationship and run the risk of losing it all together. Either way could be damaging.
I took a breath.