A New Start, I've Broken Too Many HeartsA Chapter by Clark Kent
I will always remember the day Tom first came to our town. I knew from the minute I saw him he wasn’t going to be around for long. I even said that to Katie.
She didn’t believe me.
It was the summer of 96 and school had just been let out. All the kids my age were either somewhere nice on holiday, basking in their graduation or staying inside out of the heat.
The day was a pretty typical day for Sutcliffe. The sun beat down on us like always and the horizon wavered and rippled in the heat haze that hovered over us like a swarm of flies.
I was working at my family’s petrol station that Saturday on my afternoon shift, the quietest time of the day for us. It was pretty rare for a car to stop, or even drive past, anytime between 11 am and 3 pm. It was just too hot to step any further a away from a fan then about one metre and being stuck in a car, unless it was one of those new ones with good air-conditioning, would’ve been torture.
But still we had our share of customers that day.
A family with three whiny kids under ten crammed in the back seat and two very flustered looking parents who needed their car cleaned out because their youngest hadn’t been feeling too well and a farmer in his beat up old pick up collecting a pair of wire cutters to free one of his ewes from a fence it was caught in.
And that was the excitement for the majority of the four hours.
Sutcliffe Petrol Station was probably the most popular stop in town, bar the pub. With a population of only 360 we never really had a need for malls and grocery stores so our little one stop shop sold everything you could ever need and we all just headed out to Carson City if we needed any of that.
I was sitting at the counter in my swingy chair flipping through a magazine from off the shelf, not really paying attention to the gossip and fashioned filled pages when I heard the choking growl of a very unhealthy car.
Sighing, I got up from the cool spot beside the fan and braved the searing temperatures of the outside. I glanced up and stifled a laugh at the image I was taking in. A tall, lanky brown haired boy about my age was climbing out of a very dusty red 91 Ford Festiva. It was unusual thing to be confronted with, plus I may have been a little out of it with the weather.
“Hey can I help at all?” I asked casually as I approved him. He looked a little frustrated I realized, taking in his annoyed stance: hunched shoulders and clenched fists.
“Oh yeah, you can help. You can friggin’ tell me why I bought this piece of crap in the first place!” he snapped, turning his face to me, having to flip his long dark hair out of his eyes.
I had to suppress the gasp that caught in my throat when his deep brown eyes met mine. I think we both looked at each other in surprise when we saw each other properly. The look of realization that dawned on his face wiped away his irritated expression like a cloth wiping a dirty window.
He was better looking then I realized.
I think I’d come to expect all teenager boys to look the same judging on how they all looked in Sutcliffe, and that wasn’t anything particularly special.
But this stranger was different.
The way his hair fell in his eyes made me want to reach up and brush it away, he seemed almost shy but in a friendly way like the boy next door who had so much hidden away underneath the surface, he looked like he never got out much but his eyes told me they’d seem more then anyone his age should have ever seen " they looked older and wizened.
His gaze suddenly made me feel conscious of my appearance. Dark blue overalls over a grey razor back singlet top both no doubt covered in oil and other stains, my hair scrapped messily back into a rough pony tail with my side fringe hanging out over my face and wispy bits of flyaway hair floating around my head like a slightly ginger halo and absolutely no makeup.
“Uh, well I can’t help you with that sorry,” I replied distantly, like listening to myself say it from far away.
“I " uh " that’s ok,” he replied looking back down at his car quickly. “But you wouldn’t know how to fix this thing would you?”
I glanced down at the red bonnet, feeling my cheeks flush to the same colour as the car.
“Well pop the lid and we’ll take a look,” I said quickly, watching out the corner of my eye as he moved to the driver’s side and leaned down to push the button near the steering wheel. I pulled the bonnet up quickly, blocking my view of him and got to work straight away.
“You know your stuff about cars don’t you?” he asked softly from beside a while later. He’d been watching me as I worked, leaning on the side of the car with his arms crossed.
I mumbled an ‘I guess’ from inside the car and heard him laugh slightly under his breath.
“Can I ask how you learned?” he inquired curiously. I pulled myself out of the car and wiped my oily hands on a rag I pulled out of my overall pockets.
“Well it’s been passed on from my mum really, and I’m always practicing on my car out the back. It’s just something I’ve always done really,” I smiled up at him. “Well this should all be good now, I’ll charge you slightly less because it’s so hot.” I grinned again. He smiled back and nodded, following me inside.
“What kind of car have you got?” he asked leaning on the counter once inside, dropping a few notes on the plastic top. I rang up his receipt on the till as I answered.
“Chevy, Impala,” I said with a quick smile, handing him the slip of paper. “Something old, 1965 I’m pretty sure, that my Pop found at a junk yard, gave it to me to fix and it’s running almost brand new now.”
He stared at me in disbelief.
“You have an old 65 Impala? I don’t believe you!” he scoffed slightly straightening up. I pulled a face at him.
“Fine, I’ll show you!” I said narrowing my eyes at him slightly. He followed me out into the yard and then round back to where our garage was, I grabbed the keys from my pocket then pulled the heavy door up.
“Aww sweet!” he exclaimed moving towards the navy blue car. He turned to me with a huge grin, running his hand along the bonnet. “Beats a scruffy old Ford,” he laughed. His grin lighting up his face so beautifully I was almost awed.
That’s when I knew we were going to get along just fine.
© 2010 Clark Kent
Added on January 7, 2010
Last Updated on January 7, 2010
Wild As An Elephant's Child
AboutThe name's Genevieve, or Gen for easiness. Had 17 years of experience, still completely naive. Live in New Zealand, the beginning of the world so say hello to your tomorrow! Love music, art, writing, .. more..