by T.L. Whitaker
A story that was written for my writer’s group. The prompt was Cruising.
I was a new adult when I had my daughter. I had just turned 19, a first-time mom and already missing my youth when my older sister came to visit. She was 3 years older and infinitely wiser than I, her being married for some time and had had her child three weeks before mine. She was a fount of information and we bonded over the whole mom thing. We compared our children, even put them side by side to show the difference. My daughter was short and chubby, her son long and thin. We talked about formulas, diapers, long nights with a fussy baby. Mostly, though, we talked about how much fun we had had before we grew up.
We reminisced about going down the country roads to the Friday night parties that one only knew about from word of mouth. It was the same way the police found out about the parties and came to send us scattering, drunk, high, and laughing into the fields, startling the cattle. I talked about running into the Texas Longhorn Bull we all had nicknamed Poncho. I was petrified that he would gore me and they would find my body in the morning with holes throughout. I realize now that Poncho could barely get up let alone run, but back then I ran even harder, my gold medal track team training coming into use once again.
Mostly though, we missed Saturday Nights. Oh, the fun we had. Firehouse Disco, house parties, and cruising up and down main street three towns over. Our town had banned cruising and loitering long before and other than the movie theater and the roller rink what was there to do? I do have stories about the roller rink, some that involved police, a full bottle of Jack poured down the gutter and arrest of the guy I was madly in like with. It was the cruising we missed the most. A boyfriend of mine had a super Cherry Volkswagen Beetle that had been chopped and reconfigured to a hot rod. Her boyfriend had a mustang. Driving back and forth, girls and guys were hot, a fox, and some were worthy of being howled at. That was the goal, to be ogled and howled at.
The more we reminisced the more we missed it. So we hatched a plan. Let’s go cruising! It was Saturday night. We took my car. I had a green AMC Hornet which was teetering on old, but not too bad and not a “mom” car. My sister had a station wagon or some such thing. Whatever it was it was very much a “mom” car. We had Mom and her husband to watch the kids while we went out to “coffee” for “sister” time. I let her drive and we retraced our route to First Street for some fun cruising and reliving our school years.
Instead of the hoots and hollers we expected, we were met with people looking. Some laughed, some pointed, some pointed and laughed but most just stared. We couldn’t figure out what was wrong. We were still foxy. My sister has always been beautiful with her black hair and green eyes and I had a modeling gig so it wasn’t our looks. While my car wasn’t a mustang or a hot-rod, it was almost Cherry. After a few times up and down this guy waved at us and came to my window. Now cruising isn’t something that is done quickly and creeping along the road allows one to walk up. I rolled down the window.
“Hey Foxy,” he said, pulling his feather bangs out of his face.“If you going to cruise, maybe you ought to take the car seats out of the car first.”
Both my sister’s head and mine swiveled to see my daughter’s car seat with the bright yellow seat pad sitting proudly upright in the backseat. I think I murmured gratitude to the pretty boy as we inched away. Finally, we got to where we could turn and back home we went, laughing all the way.