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Authors: Kathleen Cook Huebbe

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Runaway “Their Moment in Time”

BOOK: Runaway “Their Moment in Time”
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Runaway

 

Their Moment in Time

 

A Novel

 

by

 

Kathleen Cook Huebbe

 

Published

by

Brighton Publishing LLC

501 W. Ray Road

Suite 4

Chandler, AZ 85225

www.BrightonPublishing.com

 

Copyright © 2013

 

ISBN: 978-1-62183-120-4

 

eBook Edition

 

Cover Design: Tom Rodriguez

 

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All the characters in this book are fictitious and the creation of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to persons living or dead is purely coincidental. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

 

Dedication

 

To my Father, for without his memories, stories, and influence on my life this story would never have been written.

 

Acknowledgements

 

To Kiese Hill, my friend and colleague. Thank you for your constant support and encouragement.

 

To Cari Cook Zirbes, who has always understood
Runaway
better than anyone.

 

To my husband Chris and my three beautiful children. Thank you for the time you allowed me to take in order to finish my dream, and for taking that leap of faith with me.

 

To my publisher Kathie McGuire and everyone at Brighton Publishing who had a hand in this. Thank you for your dedication and hard work in making
Runaway
the best it could possibly be.  Ms. McGuire, thank you for believing in
Runaway
when I thought no one else would.

 

Prologue

 

I believe most people would agree that within every lifetime, people are subject to multiple lifelong lessons. There are lessons of love, breakups, or simply growing up—each of us experiences different ups and downs. Some of these circumstances change a person forever.

 

One of the biggest lessons I learned in my life is that time cannot be replaced—you cannot make it longer, and you cannot make it go back. No matter how badly you want to change the past, our actions are indelibly set in stone once each moment is past.

 

I have recently reached the ripe old age of forty. It has taken me essentially twenty-two years to learn a lesson I probably should have learned at eighteen, that time is fleeting, and memories are eternal. Time does not hurt, whereas memories do. Time cannot make you laugh, cry, scream, or smile, but memories can.

 

I have spent a better part of those twenty-two years trying to come to terms with my memories. It always seems that I am haunted by them.

 

Just remembering my youth is troubling, to say the least, because those memories come with longing and despair, happiness and melancholy. Today, I am melancholy. Today, I am sad.

 

At this particular moment, as I drive toward my old high school hangout, I am curious regarding what memories I’ll battle today. I fear a revival of memories brought about by a letter that was anonymously and unexpectedly dropped into my mailbox; I thought it may cause these memories to resurface. This letter asked me to meet the writer at The Oasis—our place, a place that was sacred to my friends and me for so long. The letter caught me off guard and forced me to remember times that I’ve tried to forget—or rather, ignore.

 

Upon receiving the letter, I was forced to remind myself to swallow and to breathe. This was unexpected. This was never supposed to happen. I had given up hope of ever receiving any kind of correspondence. Because of that, I took in a quick breath. Yet without any hesitation, I immediately drove the three hours to my parents’ house, parked, entered the front door, ignored their inquiries, and walked out into their garage… all because of the letter.

 

There, in the garage, I stood and hesitated. So many times over the years, I had walked into this garage and avoided what I was now walking toward. It used to be as simple as avoiding a song, a place, or an action, but this was entirely something else—this focused in on a part of me I had sworn to myself that I would ignore.

 

I turned on the light and walked the ten or fifteen feet to where a cocoon sat waiting on the other side of my parents’ three-car garage. Regardless of my better judgment, I took in a quick breath and approached the one thing that I knew would begin the sequence of never-ending memories. I gently pulled a dusty, worn, old cover from my car. A car into which every fiber of my being I had emptied.

 

The dust poured off her cover and floated listlessly to the ground—she, however, was undisturbed. She sat exactly where I had remembered parking her, all those years ago.

 

Now her beauty, even in the false, iridescent light, was unmistakable. I walked her length and ran my finger along her side. Her cool, smooth, jet-black body was slick to the touch. In that moment, I realized that I had failed her, too. I gazed down at her perfectly built steel body, her impeccable lines, and I knew that by forgetting and ignoring her, I had put her into a permanent time capsule—one that I wasn’t willing or prepared to open.

 

Impulsively, I reached for the door handle, carefully opened the door, and slid in. For the first time in a long time, I was anxious to reopen a part of my memory that I thought had been locked away forever. It had been twenty-two years since I last sat in her—twenty-two years since I had last driven her—and sadly, twenty-two years since I last had acknowledged her existence.

 

I immediately took in the smell of her forty-year-old interior. I grabbed her steering wheel the way I used to and let my fingers wrap themselves around the cold, hard plastic. This, I knew, was where I belonged. This was what I remembered best about life, love, and friendship.

 

I closed my eyes and let out a deep breath. When I opened my eyes, I let them fall on my left hand as it held the steering wheel, and I immediately noticed the twenty-four-year old scar. I suddenly smiled to myself and felt the scar with my other finger. The once-rough and hardened edges were now smooth from years of growing. Again, I let myself remember.

 

I honestly believed our story had been told less and less over the years, and I was sure no one at Glendora High School even knew the story at all.

 

More than that, I was positive anyone who knew about us had moved away or forgotten… or had they? Was I wrong?

 

In retrospect, none of that mattered—the story, the scar, and the car—none of it. I didn’t fail by not remembering, I failed by not trying. I had failed someone else—a girl, someone I held so close to my heart that, after all this time, no one had been able to replace her. My whole life I had lived alone, loved alone, grieved alone. Just as Sir Thomas Wyatt once noted in his poem, “Whoso List to Hunt” regarding the lost Anne Boleyn. I had, in my soul, failed to capture the wind, and thereby I punished myself daily.

 

At this moment I decided to do what the letter requested and go, as it directed, to The Oasis to face what seemed to me my most haunted and protected memory. Now I was at a crossroads. I had to get to The Oasis.

 

I glanced down at the keys, still in the ignition. Would it start? I hadn’t driven her in so long, I was almost afraid she wouldn’t run. I should have known that my parents would have periodically started the engine and kept her in running condition, hoping, perhaps praying, I would return and take her out. The keys, of which I thought I would never again take possession, remained motionless… like they, too, were waiting.

 

This was my moment of truth. I took a deep breath and grabbed the shifter. I pushed in the clutch and made sure she was out of gear before attempting to turn the key. I pumped the gas three times before turning the key—she barley turned over.

 

I pumped the gas once more, still holding in the clutch, and turned the key again, this time applying slight pressure to the gas pedal. I had to make sure her carburetor received enough gas, but not enough to flood her.

 

On the second turn, her engine caught and she ran of her own accord.

 

The blood pumped faster through my veins as I listened to her idle, with her body mildly shaking and trembling. I closed my eyes and let her warm up as I gripped the steering wheel harder. It had been exactly twenty-two years since I had driven this car—my car—but it had not changed, aged, or grown weary. It had persevered, where I had failed… but did the car remember, too?

 

Leaving my parents’ garage, I drove past the maze of streets out of our neighborhood. I listened to and felt my car—she rumbled and shook just as she used to. That brought a smile to my face. I drove to The Oasis, for it was not far, and I finally let my memory take me into the past.

 

I took pleasure in the shifting—pressing the clutch, moving the gearshift, applying gentle pressure to the gas. God, this was what I had longed for.

 

On the way to The Oasis, I had to drive through town on the main road. “Road”… funny—it’s really more a legend than a road. Many in this town now call it “Foothill,” but some still refer to it as Route 66.

 

Looking around, I realized that so much about this area had changed. I remembered lemon and orange groves as far as the eye could see, but now houses, unfortunately, had replaced them. It was heartbreaking to see every last one of the citrus groves gone. Towns and cities were no longer separated for miles by these beautiful, fragrant trees. Now the cities ran together in a constant stream, connected by strip malls, gas stations, houses, apartments and grocery stores. Forever gone were the days of citrus, simplicity, and that small-town feel. It’s hard to believe that just a short twenty-some-odd years ago, things were so different.

 

At one point, The Oasis, our hangout, was owned by a man named George Thompson. He had once lived in a white adobe two-story house that was right next to the diner—both were located on Baseline Avenue. Now, the house and the man were gone. I had no idea who owned The Oasis now—I doubted whether it was anyone I knew. Somewhere in my gut, I knew The Oasis had always persevered—or at least, I had hoped so—but I wasn’t exactly sure until today.

 

The Oasis was a small diner surrounded by palm trees and a small, circular parking lot. I had no idea how I would feel when I saw the parking lot or the diner. This was where the heart of my life was. All the best and worst, every emotion I’d ever felt, came from this one place.

 

This was what I had fought so hard to forget—this was what I knew would bring the pain back. The moment I started to make the turn into the parking lot, a wave of emotion and memories came crashing down.

 

High school. It was so long ago, and yet it seemed as if it all happened just yesterday. Just like a song can take a person back to a moment, seeing this building took me back to another life—one of dreams, loyalties, challenges and friendships.

 

Glancing now at the building, I suddenly remembered the jukebox that stood in the corner, just away from our favorite booth. I also remembered the checkered floor where so many people had walked, the walls covered with posters, and of course, how could I ever have forgotten The Wall of Fame?

 

I let my mind slip farther down memory lane and I saw Mr. Thompson as he sat in his chair, recounting tales of yesteryear. These tales were the seeds that, with time, became our dreams, hopes, goals and aspirations. All the sounds that had been so hidden in my mind and heart began to beat against my brain, and then they finally broke through, taking my breath away.

 

The diner had definitely aged. Weeds had sprung up out of the asphalt, dead plants bordered the front doors, and the roof looked worn by years of weather. But it didn’t matter—regardless of its dilapidation, The Oasis still retained all the mysticism it had held in its heyday.

 

But more jarring than all of what I saw with my eyes was another vision that slammed against my heart. I saw that I was late—a Willys coupe, a roadster, and a Buick GS awaited me in the parking lot.

 
BOOK: Runaway “Their Moment in Time”
11.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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