speed limit

It was posted there, on the  left side of my brain, the speed limit.

I have been playing life way too safe.

My first car was a 72 Chevelle, three on the tree manual. The guy who sold it to me took me to a parking lot and took a few turns around the parking lot to show me how to let up the clutch, smoothly, so I didn’t kill the engine. Then he left me there. “Drive it back,” he said. “If you like it, we’ll talk money.”

I liked it.

Girls don’t drive muscle cars. I got that concept quickly enough when I brought it home. But I loved the thrill of speed, the exhilarating rumble of a revved-up engine, ready for green. Go. Go, I got my tickets, not many, didn’t get caught so often or talked my way out of most things, no excuses, just temporary insanity of sorts, drunk, not on late night beer, but on the temptation of a clear road, clear night, a car poised next to me at the light, his accelerator pushed to the floor, my feet dancing that balance between the clutch, green, down first up, down second up, down, third up quickly, and yes, yes, I raced him, raced far past the 30 mph, not to the 80 spray-painted over it, but fast, so fast, until he passed me, or I passed him, sometimes, or one of us killed the engine losing it all in those careless early shifts. But more often we raced close, not sure winning was so much the point as being there, and free, and laughing as we soared out alone past the flat fields .

i have been playing life way too safe.

I forgot the thrill of the limits, living at the limits, or better, somewhere beyond them.  Not on automatic. Letting off the clutch. Shifting into high.

 

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