Introductions were made, and ever the people pleaser, I did my best to smile without being forward, appear self-assured but not self-centered, demure but not coy. Just cool, calm and collected here, so no, I’m not dying inside. Flyboy didn’t have to be wearing a uniform for me to imagine how good he would look in one. He had thick, coarse, coppery auburn hair and a well-trimmed mustache, blue-green eyes and bulging biceps. I wondered if he was as nervous as me.
Flyboy looked at my feet and pronounced that sandals were not proper footwear for a motorcycle ride and suggested I find something more appropriate. Being a California girl, I only owned sandals, and after finding some tennies that fit, we were ready to roll.
We walked out to get on the motorcycles and as I climbed on behind Flyboy, I was instantly panic-stricken. It was not the fear of riding for the first time. It was the realization that there was no backrest and I had nothing to hold onto. Except for Flyboy, and even though this was the 70’s, there was no way I was wrapping my arms around the waist of some guy I’d known for five minutes. As he revved up the engine and started to pull out of the driveway, I quickly looked for options, fearing that if I didn’t hold onto something, I just might slide right off the back. There was only one thing to do – I stuck my index fingers through his belt loops and prayed I wouldn’t die.
There in front of me, Flyboy was completely aware of my dilemma and was wondering what I would do about it. While he knew I had nothing to hold onto, he was really hoping I did NOT grab him around the middle. He could hear the wheels turning in my brain as I examined my options and quickly narrowed them to one. And when he felt my fingers in his belt loops, he grinned a secret grin, was charmed by my ingenuity, and to this day says, “that’s when I was hooked.”
It was a night of firsts – first blind date, first real motorcycle ride, first time out with a REAL MAN (as opposed to a high school boy), first time to see a falling star (in southern California one can barely see the sky…never mind the stars), and first time to see a bat. We stopped by a lake to watch the sun go down and there, right overhead, flew a bat. While PJ and her boyfriend were off kissing somewhere, Flyboy and I talked about what was important to us and desperately hoping he wouldn’t figure it out, I tried to avoid any reference to the fact that I was only 17 and had graduated from high school just a few weeks before.
Next stop, Pizza Hut. And then we went home. And I wondered if I would ever see him again.