It all started with that damn red car. I had to have it. I didn’t care about it, but Linda did. She fancied herself to be just like the girl on the billboards, smiling in the passenger seat, dark long hair blowing in the wind, one arm wrapped around the neck of the gorgeous driver. I could never be gorgeous, but at least I could get her the car, wait for her to finish her shift at the coffee shop and drive together into the sunset. She barely spoke to me back then, but she was bound to be impressed by the red Honda. That car was my only chance to get a shot at Linda, the girl all the boys in the neighborhood were crazy about, the queen of hearts, most of them broken.
I did not even listen to the beggar at first, took him for a harmless drunk. His words were funny, in as much as the ramblings of madman can be funny. I was feeling so low that day I saw no harm in humoring the old fool. I was like yeah, man, sure, I’ll sell you my soul for a car. He didn’t want my soul, nor a contract signed in blood or a promise he could have my future child. All he asked was to put his hand on my forehead and he had the decency to wipe his fingers on a rag he had in his pocket first.
‘I don’t have any money to give you, my boy. All I can offer is the sight. No need to thank me. You can only use it once for profit, but it will stay with you forever and it will show you many things’.
Honestly, I almost forgot to play the lottery that week, as I was certain it was just nonsense. But, hey, I was desperate, why the hell not buy myself a ticket?
Anyway, even if I win, who’s to say it’s not simply luck, I figured. Nothing to do with a poor hobo at a bus station.
I was right about Linda. She fell for it. As soon as she saw me behind the wheel, she smiled and nodded slightly. Jackpot! I was free to call and she was so sweet, wanting to know how did I manage to get such a beautiful car and then came the words I’ve been dreaming to hear -’what are you doing tomorrow night?’
At six pm sharp I drew in front of the coffee shop and opened the passenger door just as beautiful Linda stepped out of the shop. It was summer so it was too early for a sunset, but we drove for a long time, just the two of us and the wind playing in her hair. We stopped at the lake, although the restaurant was crowded and there were so many cars it was hard to find a secluded spot. I knew I’d earned myself at least a kiss from Linda. She was so relaxed, which only made my lack of experience more painful. I didn’t want to seem too daring, so I decided my best bet was to put my arm around her head, gently, definitely not pulling her towards me. That would be gross, I thought.
That’s all it took. The moment my fingers touched her skin, my heart sank. I saw myself, lying in bed, empty cans of beer piled on the floor. Hurting like hell, ’cause Linda was gone. I don’t know if you can understand - there she was, smiling, her parted lips ready to be kissed and all I could feel was the heartache to come. The torture of knowing another was now kissing those lips. I couldn’t see his face, but I knew she wasn’t mine anymore.
Maybe I should’ve driven back to town and got rid of her right then, but I couldn’t. I was weak. And I didn’t want to make a fool of myself, especially as I couldn’t explain to her what came over me. I kissed her and we made out as much as we dared with cars coming and going around us. We were together for a month and all my friends told me I was so lucky. I put on my best grin, but I knew…
She didn’t even break up with me properly. Just stopped taking my calls, my texts went unanswered. She was gone. It hurt just as I knew it would and I cursed the day I met the beggar and the day I bought the car and pretty much everything I could think of.
It took me months to get over it and for a while I thought I was rid of the stranger’s gift. I’ve never won the lottery again and the other girls I met I had no foresight of things to come. Not even the one that was to dump me at a motel and split with my car. That car. I just filed a report for a stolen car and did not mention the girl. She did me a favor after all.
I’m married now. Jennifer, a wonderful woman. We’ve been together for two years. I don’t know how long we’ll be together, but I know we’ll get a divorce someday. I saw that the day I asked her to marry me. Just as I was putting the ring on her finger I saw myself packing. What I couldn’t see was who was getting rid of whom, so, I don’t know, I’ll just keep my options open. I wouldn’t go as far as cheating on her, but, you know, have a plan B ready, just in case.
Story written for @mariannewest's freewrite challenge. Today's prompt was: queen of hearts! Check out her blog and join our freewrite community.
Thanks for reading!