The water poured over the rocks, but the moon was bright and it allowed them to navigate their way down “the falls,” a series of natural steps which could be tricky going. But once traversed, the reward waited just around the next river bend. And when they got to the next set of rocks, there it was: the deep pool on the other side.
He was the first to go, stripping out of his tee-shirt, jeans and sneakers, and he was down to just his Jockeys. He tried, as subtly as possible, to see what the girls were doing before taking the final step. Cheryl, always the shy one, was down to her bra and panties, and it looked like that was as far as she cared to go, thank you. Michelle was topless by this point, and the moonlight tinged her small firm breasts a lovely shade of alabaster. Jeannie had no qualms. Jeannie, whom every boy wanted. Jeannie, with an incredible body upstaged only by her big brown eyes and dark brown hair to her waist. Jeannie, who was never afraid to rise to a challenge. She was naked – he was amazed at how quickly she doffed it all – and that was his cue to drop the shorts.
He went in first, cannonball-style. Jeannie was next: much more graceful, her body piercing the water with a beautiful dive. The other girls followed, and yells and laughter punctuated the scene. And they all splashed each other, and the shy girls found the nerve to lose every last stitch, and the four of them – he, the lucky driver, and the three girls from town – were far from home and free of all that that implied.
The scream of a siren. Suddenly, cop lights echoing around the dashboard. He checks the rear-view mirror. Yep, for him.
He pulls over dutifully and waits. The patrolman arrives at the driver’s door and asks for his papers. As he hands them over, the officer says “You know you were traveling well over the speed limit, sir?”
“Sorry. I guess I was just lost in the moment.”
The officer gives him a look and walks back to the patrol car.
It was over thirty years ago. A place many miles from home, the drive seemed like it was to the end of the earth. And for a group of bored suburban kids on a hot summer night, it was another world. A place in the country where, when feeling adventurous enough and someone was willing to drive, they would escape.
Now, he lived not far from that place. And he drove by here every day. And many the time he found himself back at one particular night.
Thirty years, did I say? It was a million years ago. And it was yesterday.
And he thinks to himself, as he waits patiently for the officer to return:
“I gotta find me a new commute.”