You ask to be excused from the table and your dad grunts so you head upstairs where your duffle bag is packed and you flash your flashlight three times out the window. He responds with three flashes from a flashlight of his own.
You board the bus and you kiss for three hundred miles until someone complains to the driver who comes back to ask the two of you to stop kissing. You hold off for fifteen miles before the other passengers complain that your kisses were the only thing keeping them going on this bus ride.
“It’s nice to be around people who are hopeful!” a man with an open face wound shouts.
“The sound of their lips keeps me from hearing the echoes if what my sister said to me when we last saw each other in ’83,” a lady trying to pick the lock on a handcuff concurs.
“Lift the ban!” the other passengers shout. “Lift the ban!”
“Fine.” The bus driver buckles. “Ban lifted.” So you kiss for the next 1100 miles and everyone on the bus is grateful.
Ten miles from your destination you pull out your guns and rob everyone on the bus. Someone tries to be a hero so you shoot him in the heart.
Hiding up in the mountains wears on you after twenty-six months. You try to remember the day you met, just another gray November day of senior year turned suddenly to the brightest springtime morn when you saw his face.
“He’s a transfer,” your best friend whispered into your ear when she spotted you drooling.
But a cold mountain wind blows and the memory scatters with the gust. He comes back to the cabin with not enough meat. You can feel the baby kick.
The three of you head down the other side of the mountain, to a valley town in a whole other state and no one looks at you twice when you enroll to get your GED. You’ll make a life for your baby, a better one than you made for yourself.
You’re driving home from school when you spot the flashing lights of three squad cars forming a roadblock at the end of your street. You stop in time to see him run down in the middle of the road, pinned to the concrete with the knees of police. They lift him up and you think he can see you. The rest of your life you’ll hope he could see the two of you, that he could see you mouth the word “goodbye.”
You tuck her in and you pretend you’re reading a storybook as you tell her the tale of the boy and the girl who ran off to find out what their love might do to the world. And when she asks if it did anything bad you say yes. And when she asks if it did anything good you kiss her on the forehead and you say yes.
Happy True Romance Day!