Travel Back In Time: An ’80s Romance

I always felt safe in that battered white Jeep. It was a hand me down birthday gift, and since my older sister is leaving for college soon, it now belongs to me. She always said that every car is full of adventures. Just like every guitar carries a few songs. I think I’m still waiting for my adventure. Nonetheless, I was protected in that car. The big wheels added to the elevation and gifted me with a dose of confined confidence. In the parking lot of my high school, I see him. I wonder what adventures he had experienced in his pick up truck. I wonder how many songs were stored in the guitar he had slung around his back. And most of all I wonder if he sees me too.

The Jeep is parked and powered down, but I hesitate before entering school. My hands are still on the wheel as if I’m hopeful an adventure will brew. I turn on the radio instead.

Suddenly, I feel the electric shock that is a time warp souring me through a past where he and I could have been. We drift vigorously backward as if slipping into a riotous sleep. The lyrics provide the conversation. The melody is our guide. Past the Britney toxicity of the 2000’s when Avril Lavigne was the queen of all things Complicated and Usher could be heard at any party. Onto the Spice Girls reign of the 90s and the familiar beats of old-school hip-hop. We settle into the possibilities of the 80s. We’re standing in a Bueller-like parade. Thousands of shoulder pads and perms, bold colors and oversized blazers dance rhythmically to the music. The sun cascades against the skyscrapers aligning the street into an almost ethereal glow, enhancing the fascination of our withdrawal from reality. I see his eyes, distant and yet close to mine as he scans the crowd and inhales the exuberance. I would never tell him this, but I would have followed him anywhere. Forward into our future and even backward into our past. I reach for his hand though bigger than mine, wondering if he too feels the magic of our present. As he grasps mine, we share a smile before we’re twisting and shouting and working it all as if we too were meant to belong. I lose focus of the time. I even forget to feel insecure. There is nothing as spectacular as breathing in the exhilaration of the present. There are a million questions I need to ask. A million answers I need to know.

The moment, however, leaves almost as quickly as it came. We’re sent away with one last ballad by the Pet Shop Boys reiterating the fact that this little escape would always be on my mind. I’m back in my car in the present day. I rest my head on the steering wheel and lean into it softly, pleading with myself to return to our mystical dream. He is real, but we were only a thought. Before I exit the car into a reality more attainable than this, I lift my head for one last glance. Maybe it was my imagination. Perhaps it was another reverie. But I could almost say for certain that as I saw him, he saw me too.

By Savanna C., 16, Fort Worth, TX