She tried to move with confidence as she headed toward the nondescript white automobile parked next to the dumpster in the lot behind the high school gym. She noticed the shoulder-length, messed-up, beautiful locks of her partner through the rolled-down back seat window. He had gotten there just before she did which meant that she would have to go first. She knew that he was laughing at his clever maneuver as he flashed her an exaggerated smile and she flipped him the bird. She opened the door to the driver’s side and placed her 16-year-old bum on the front seat. She took her time adjusting her lanky legs, her mini-skirt, the rear-view mirror, her frosted hair and the vinyl seat, forgetting until being reminded, to fasten the seat belt by pulling the strap tight across her waist. Beside her, wearing an exasperated expression, sat the fearsomely adored football coach/ driver’s ed teacher. “Are we ready,” he taunted with undisguised sarcasm.
Placing the ball of her swede boot on the brake pedal, she pulled the handle of the control stick towards her and over to the right so that the needle behind the steering wheel landed on the letter R. Her leather-fringed elbow was strategically placed on the back of the seat just like she’d seen her sister do. Not remembering if she should look over her right shoulder or her left, she randomly glanced both ways, slowly squeezed the gas pedal and voilà, backed the car out into the parking lot. Then, moving the needle from R to D she successfully edged her way to the red octagonal sign by the main road and jolted her passengers to a complete stop.
The frowning driver’s ed teacher/football coach patiently informed her of the things that needed improvement before she ventured out onto the main road, like knowing the difference between left and right and the purpose of rear and side-view mirrors. She heard him say something about the devil being in the details when a sleek, black 1968 MG convertible passed by. The driver, known as the sexiest guy in the senior class by all the sophomore girls, could have been Paul McCartney’s twin with a voice like Dillon. She was really, really hoping that he hadn’t seen her in this horrible, embarrassing automobile with its humiliating Caution Student Driver banner. She heard giggling from the back seat and effectively used her rear view mirror to lock in the evil-eye before accelerating into a confusing world of traffic and speed; navigating limits, direction, wrong turns, backing up, braking, slowing down, speeding up, yielding and finally, parking.