Time seems to crawl as we watch the sun fade into the horizon. Neither of us likes being stuck in the middle of nowhere in the dark of night, so this is uncomfortable. I know that getting a motel room together is out of the question—partly because most of the nearby motels are miles away from here. But we can’t stay at the gas station, either. If we had family in town, we could call them. Or if we had friends that weren’t away from home, we could call them. Or if my phone was working, we could call a cab. But, as it stands, we’re in a tough spot.
Richard opens his mouth again and says nothing. But then, he does something unusual. Instead of brushing his hair back in frustration, he puts his arm around my shoulder. He says nothing, but he gives me what feels like a comforting pat, assisted with a smile. My body quivers because I don’t know what he’s trying to say. So I return his action by removing his hand and placing it back to his side. And it hurts because I’ve longed to feel that touch for a long while now. But I get up and walk to the middle of the road, where I stand and stare into the distance. I realize we’ve been together long enough. It really is time to go.
Moments later, a pair of headlights shine in the horizon. I wait between the two lanes as the lights draw closer. Within a minute, the approaching vehicle comes so close that it’s dangerous for me to stand there. Richard speaks to me, finally, telling me to get out of the road. But I don’t do it, even though I should. I just stay there, watching the vehicle, waiting to see what it does. I stick out my thumb as the headlights blind me and the horn nearly deafens me.
Finally, the vehicle, a pickup truck, screeches. I sidestep the truck as it skids right past me, a small boat trailer jackknifing behind it. I leap to the side of the road to avoid that, too.
As I hear the driver side door slam and the driver cursing “you dumb blonde” at me, I look up to see a single, white Kawasaki two-rider Jet Ski sport fixed to the trailer. I get up from the ground for a closer look. The driver approaches me and demands to know if I’m crazy. All I can do, however, is to stare at the Jet Ski. It looks dirty and a bit damaged, but I make out the Kawasaki logo on the front of the hull and a racing stripe along the side. I also discover a small flower insignia just below the brand name and the letters “RDF” just below that. A tear escapes my eye as Richard steps up beside me and asks if I’m okay.
Richard and I explain our situation to the driver, and after he calms down, he agrees to give us a ride home. But something unusual happens along the way. The driver explains that the Jet Ski in his trailer was damaged when he crashed it into a dock a few weeks ago and that he has been trying to sell it to anyone interested. He drove far and wide looking to nail down a buyer, but everyone wanted a Jet Ski in excellent condition only, so he had returned to town with it each time. But because our story seems to strike an emotional chord with him, he offers the Jet Ski to me for free to replace the one that was stolen.
At first, I’m speechless by the incredibly generous gift, but a realization occurs to me. As much fun as I’ve had with my Jet Skis in the past, the truth is I need to start my life fresh again. I’ve lived in pain day after day and would really like to relax.
I’m not sure if I make the right decision to turn down his offer, but I can’t keep going down the same road I always travel. There has to be other ways to get through life and enjoy it. So I ask that he consider giving it to Richard instead. I think, deep down, I would much rather he have it than me.
He really loved my Jet Ski.