Love is…

Boy – Forgetting there are 3.5 billions other women in the world.

Girl – Wasn’t it you who said that being in love isn’t like suffering from amnesia? Or am I suffering from amnesia?

Boy – Whatever.

 

Rhea didn’t come the next day. Not the day after, or the week after. Not even the week after that week. Yet everyday, I kept on putting the RESERVED sign on station number seven. Another crazy thing you do for love.

 

Sometimes, I would look back at her registration form she had filled, contemplating whether I should give her a call. But I made up my mind that I shouldn’t. I wanted her to call me instead. But, waiting was hard. I hated it.

 

I sighed, before crossing another date in the calendar. Dear Rhea, it has been three weeks and four days since I last saw you.

 

After I’d already given up on seeing her again, one rainy day, Rhea appeared in front of me. I was closing the shutter when I noticed she was taking a shelter at the bakery across the street. Immediately, I knew she’d been waiting for me.

‘Rhea?’ I shouted.

She looked up and waved, before making a dash across the street. We looked at each other for a while, before she finally spoke.

‘I know you’re closing already, but do you mind if I use the station for a while? It’s kind of important.’

I nodded. ‘Of course not.’

She muttered a thank you and I re-opened the shutter. We ducked and slipped through, leaving the shutter half closed. I switched on the electricity and she went to her station, the RESERVED sign still atop of it.

‘You really keep it for me,’ she said, smiling.

I nodded. ‘Well, we do have an agreement.’

‘But today will be the last,’ she said. ‘Hey Josh, will you watch me?’

I went over and sat next to her. She logged into her profile and picked her usual route. Before the race started, she changed her car configuration, adding a few modifications.

Looking at her, I could tell that she was more tensed than usual. She was bitting her lower lip as the race was about to start. Once the word GO flashed, she hit her keyboard as fast as she could, stealing a good start. She didn’t slow down, positioning her car near the kerb. The first stretch was over and she was leading.

‘Keep it up, Rhea,’ I said. ‘You’re doing great.’

‘Stop it, you’re making me nervous,’ she said, maneuvering the car around the curves.

‘Watch out!’ I shouted.

The car behind tried to gain entry, but she quickly swerve to block it.

‘You’re going to give me a heart attack,’ she said, laughing nervously.

I looked at the map in the corner of the screen. She had completed half of the route. Finally she came to the last continuous bends, the trickiest part of the race. These would be the ones sealing her ranking. She did the first bend with the bumper, slightly grazing the road divider. At the second bend, another car managed to wedge in-between the gap and stole the lead. I noticed Rhea freezing for a moment and her movements slowed down. Another car came and took the second place, making her third.

‘Rhea, keep going!’ I shouted.

She turned to me.

‘GO! GO! GO!’ I shouted.

She snapped and got back into her senses. When another car threatened to come in, she finally increased speed. I thought she was going to lose control, but instead her car swerved flawlessly, sending smoke and dry leaves flying. Hearing the loud screeching sound, I could almost imagine the smell of burnt rubber.

Using the same technique, she managed to pass the second car on the next turn. The final bend arrived and she was neck to neck with the leader. The top scorer’s car. None of them seemed to slow down and it came down to a long straight stretch.

‘GO, RHEA! GO!’ I found myself shouting at the top of my voice.

She increased her speed to the max, but the other car did as well. They were grazing each other’s paints as they raced onto the finishing line. Finally, the cars crossed the checkpoint. We held our breath for a moment.

Rhea looked at me. ‘Did I…?’

I couldn’t answer. It was hard to tell.

But finally, the word WINNER flashed in front of us and in a moment of excitement, I banged the table. Rhea buried her face in her palms, overwhelmed by emotion.

‘I did it,’ she said, her voice shaky.

I nodded. ‘Yes, you did.’


MORNING HEADLINE: UNIVERSITY STUDENT KILLED IN HORRIFYING CAR CRASH

PALMVILLE – A 24 year-old driver was killed after his car spun out of control during torrential rain. James Harris was pronounced dead at the scene. He was driving a modified Nissan Silvia S15 at an unsafe speed. According to a witness, the car veered into upcoming traffic, before crashing into a pole. No other vehicles were involved in the crash, which remains under investigation.