Ride by Sharon Lior

Do you remember that ride?

You are between my legs. My thighs are wrapping yours. I feel the heat of your legs through the denim pants I’ve brought from Thailand a few weeks before we met. I love it when you wear your blue work clothes, with the shabby pocket that always contains a screwdriver and a pen. But now you wear shorts because of our movie date and it’s easy for me to feel your muscles stretch under your skin.

My hands hold you tight, my body pressed against yours. Your body responses, presses back to me. I’m still surprised how easy it is for two bodies to connect without any barrier, how quickly it became so obvious.

Strings of light pass while we fly through shops and neon signs. I think how many times I’ve passed here—a Haifa neighborhood next to the one I grew up in, a girl alone, and didn’t have a clue that one day I’d be driving here with you.

You touch my leg and yell something. Take one hand from the handlebar and point forwards, your other hand grasps the bar confidently. I lift the head helmet visor, but hear nothing except the loud rattle of the Vespa. You stop at the red traffic light and put your feet on the road. I stay attached to you. Massage your shoulders and neck. The burnt oil smell of the Vespa is strong and stinking. It comes off from the clothes only by laundry.  It becomes part of me now, in the long rides between Naan, Ramat Gan, and Haifa. It will stay on me now too, even though the way between the rented apartment in Neve Shaanan and Amami Cinema, in the middle of the neighborhood, is a short one.

The light changes and off you fly, my body is still in yours. Knee touches knee, helmet cheek on helmet head. We’ve barely met. You pick me up from the station. We throw my weekend bag in the apartment. “Do you want to watch the recommended French movie?” you ask. I hesitate, “Yes!”

The road passes quickly. In the next junction we’ll turn right and we’ll be there. You raise your right arm. I already know that this is the way you signal when the signal system of the old Vespa fails.  The air is still warm. It’s night time, but the asphalt road is steaming the dust and the ending of an August day. Your studies will begin in two weeks and you are already located in the apartment that the Kibbutz had rented for you, with a roommate. Despite the helmet on my face and the Vespa smell, your sweat sneaks to my nose, sweet and familiar.

You stop the Vespa and push it backwards, lands it clicking the kickstand. We buy tickets and run into the cinema, the oil smell hovers above us like a cloud when we enter the hall, hand-in-hand, laughing.

We cling to each other, trying to make the chair handle that separates us disappear. The hall is dark and the movie starts. Hands are being sent, caresses legs, knee, neck. Our lips meet. The week’s longing that the long phone calls, at low cost rates, only made worst, is rising like a wave now, and floods us. We can’t watch the movie. Shall we leave? You suggest and I agree.

Like an upside down domino cube, the people in our row get up one after another, when we whisper apologies and go out. We run to the Vespa. I wait while you step on the kick-starter strongly. The faithful Vespa kicks off. You lean it towards me to make it easier for me to climb on.

Again, I hug you between my legs and we drive the same way back. Your body is burning between my hands. Eventually you stop at the last traffic light before the turn to the street. A car stops beside us, and a rather old couple are sitting inside. The man is the driver, but they both stare at us. He rolls down his window and signals us. We lift the helmet visors up. “Hey, he will not run. It is OK. Release him,” he says, and they both laugh. Jealousy, I think. Jealousy. The light changes and we drive fast to the apartment.  It is in the high building, on the mountain side. We get off of the Vespa and run on the bridge that connects the building to the street, go down, to the street level below.

Do you remember that ride, the movie that we didn’t see, promised ourselves to catch later but never succeeded? Every time that someone mentioned it our eyes met smiling. I think that that couple in the car were our age now.