Monday, October 14, 2002

A Kiss and an Aspirin

A simple memory that brings a smile whenever remembered.

It was my first time to do it. My hands were getting cold and sweaty. Beads of perspiration showed on my face as the minutes passed. I thought I was ready for this then I realized that maybe it would not last that long. I knew he was waiting for me inside and that I wanted to do it as well. So, I gathered all my courage and started walking towards him. Each step I took reverberated through me, I felt I was walking on a death march in slow motion under a trance. “I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.” I chanted silently in my head. As I neared him, he gave his reassuring smile he always had for me every time he knew I was nervous. But it did not do its magic at that time. I went to where my boyfriend was and sat beside him. My heart was beating unsteadily, I could not breathe properly, I was fidgety, my hands were clammy and I could not look at him. My thoughts as I approached him ran, from my nervousness down to my being inexperienced. What if I could not do it? What would he think? How would he react? So many uncertainties all jumbled in my head as if a second voice was in there nagging me endlessly. “Are you sure you’re ready for this?” he asked. I smiled and said it was better for us to get it over with since we would still end up doing it in the first place. He smiled, took my hand and guided it slowly to where it should be.

Finally, my first driving lesson has begun.

I remember that day of learning how to drive painfully well. The first thing he told me was to relax, relax, and relax. I wondered why he said such until I noticed my hands and knuckles were white from gripping the steering wheel tightly. I gave him a nervous laugh and lightened my hold on the poor steering wheel. I was so uptight and we had not even moved a single inch from where we were parked. I thought it silly when he started teaching me how to shift gears properly when the car was not even started. I wondered if it was his delaying tactic for me not to drive yet, after all, it was his car I plan to practice on and maybe he prolonged the life of his car before I made any major damage to it.

After minutes of shifting gears without really going anywhere, he told me that it was time to get moving. Once again, my heart raced and my body tensed as I started the engine. I felt like a kid being taught systematically how to walk. Step on the brakes, release the hand break, left foot on the clutch, shift the gear from neutral to first gear, release the breaks and then step on the gas.

I did as I was told. And voila! It was a ride all right - a horse ride!

I felt like I was on a horse that was bucking wildly to get me off its back. All I wanted was to get out of the possessed car. So, I stepped on the brake a little too hard, and almost went out flying out the window shield of his car if not for the seat belts we wore. I was mortified and he was worried. Was he concerned for me or for his car? I was not sure. Nevertheless, he urged me to try again. I tried to make things lighter but ended up making a lame joke asking him about his car insurance. That definitely drained him of his blood.

But I was glad that he was patient with me and kept his sanity while he taught me how to do it properly. Eventually, my second try into setting the car into motion was not as bad as my first attempt. I was able to move inches away from our starting point, unfortunately, I had to re-start the engine due to my inability to properly use that thing called clutch. I myself was getting dizzy from all the racking and struggling that I was doing in the car just to be able to go farther with no mishaps. Gradually after many attempts, I was able to drive at a slow pace with no trouble. I noticed that tricycles easily maneuvered around us nevertheless, I was exhilarated. It was a far cry from my rodeo experience and at least the car was now exorcised. We drove that way for a few more minutes pretending to be cruising in the neighborhood.

When we finally reached the front of our house, I was relieved but not as much as he was. Maybe he thought that finally my driving lesson was over for the day. We got out of his car and walked to our house while contemplating on what took place. I did not know that driving was physically strenuous the first time. My legs ached, my back hurt, and I had a stiff neck for days, all that in exchange for just an hour of learning how to drive.

When my boyfriend had to go home, I walked him to his car, thanked him a whole lot for what he did and gave him a kiss. As he was about to leave, I ran back to him and handed him an aspirin. I knew he had a hell of a headache because of me and I think he preferred the tablet than my kiss before he left. After all, in reality, my kiss could not have taken away his headache due to my driving, but I am pretty sure the aspirin did.

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