On the Motorway

Typical! It was raining again! I woke up on a dreary morning and the first thought I had was “I’m off on holiday today”. I don’t know if you could call it a ‘holiday’ though – it was just me and mum…Not that I mind that, it’s just that it’s more fun with a friend or other family. We were going to Cornwall for four days – I know, what a long time! I just knew the weather was going to be far from ‘beautiful’ there, since I’d looked at the unpromising forecast for Newquay the night before. Fat chance of getting a tan then.

I scrambled unwillingly out of my creaky bed and got dressed. Amazingly, most of the stuff we needed was packed already and so mum just had to do a few jobs. Eventually, we were in the stuffed full car, and were on our way out of the driveway. Hooray, we were off. Now I could go back to sleep, thankfully! However, I had a hard time trying to doze off since all I could hear was the drone of radio 4 blaring out and the irritating squeak of the windscreen wipers going. When I finally did drop off I woke up not soon after, on the motorway, having worked myself into the most uncomfortable position ever. I decided there was no point in trying to get back to sleep so I occupied my self by watching other cars go past.

“Have a nice sleep?” my mum asked me.

“Yeh,” I mumbled.

“You’re going to have to help me put up the tent when we get there. I don’t want you just sitting in the car and not doing anything to help.” She said in her authoritative mummy voice. Great! Just what I would feel like doing in the icy blizzard that would probably have formed by the time we arrived in a few million hours time, in total darkness.

Actually the weather was starting to clear up now – the rain had finally stopped and the sun was, in vain, trying to get clear of the clouds. It made me feel kinda holday-ee. Funny how the weather can change your mood.

I resumed my neck exercises as I studied people driving by in their (superior) cars. Yes, ours was an old banger; sorry, tractor is probably a more fitting description. Seriously, you could hear it a mile off, without even listening hard.

A black modified KA sparked my interest, as I craned to look for fit guys inside it. Sadly, it only proffered a lone 40 year-old in sunglasses, bopping to his loud “cool” music. It is unbelievably sad when guys over 30 think they can pull of being a chav. 

After 20 minutes of studying drivers and passengers, including a staring old woman and a little kid laughing at me for I don’t know what, I was just about to resume sleeping when I saw a boy asleep in the back of a blue people carrier. Traffic was slowing down so I had time to look and so I could see he was closest to the window, as was I. It was very apparent that him and his family were going on holiday as well, since his two parents were in the front and his younger brother and sister were evidently, by the frowning faces and waving arms, arguing in the back seat. There were two surf boards attached to the top of the car and the boot was stuffed full of bedding, bags and other holiday items. I chuckled to myself as I saw a stray bucket and spade jammed in at the side.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t see the boy’s face since his head was bowed but I figured he was about 16 or 17…my age. I was just staring at him and thinking how on earth he was still sleeping through what appeared to me, a loud argument that was still ensued between his two siblings, when he suddenly looked out of the window, straight at me!

Normally, I would have looked away immediately having felt embarrassed and bad about staring, but I didn’t. I think it must have been because I couldn’t get over how good looking he was. He had dark short hair, which was slightly ruffled, and even having just woken up his eyes were open wide and a perfect green, piercing straight through me. His skin was annoyingly flawless and he was wearing one of my favourite boy tops – a blue t-shirt with a darker long sleeved top underneath.

All I could do was smile and feel like a complete idiot! My hair was all haywire from sleeping and I just knew my mascara had all smudged under my bleary eyes. Surely he was going to see how ugly I was and look away in disgust, any second now.

To my utter amazement, he actually smiled back, and it was one of the best smiles I’d ever seen! I was so surprised, I almost forgot to breathe. Thing is, I’d never had any attention from boys before and most of my friends all had boyfriends, of course. I was one of those girls who, in my mind, were a hidden beauty. I think I’d fooled myself long enough now. Yes, boys didn’t mind me but it never got as far as a relationship. I was sick to death with hearing how brilliant it was having a boyfriend, from all my friends, and it had got to the point where I’d given up any chance of me being liked. I was just being realistic. However, this little episode had raised my hopes quite a lot.

He then gestured beside him with his thumb in the direction of his brother and sister and gave a longsuffering look. I smiled and gave a short laugh. I suddenly remembered my mum was in the front but luckily the loud radio programme had masked my laugh. I could not let my mum know about this; last time I had smiled at this guy in another car, in a traffic jam, she’d annoyingly noticed, and said, “Why are you smiling at him? He’s far too old for you anyway.” And then she actually made me look away as they drove by again. So that was the end of that. It’s not that she doesn’t want me to be liked by boys; she’s just paranoid about anyone outside our area and those she doesn’t know. For all I know “they could be a paedophile”. Anyway, so I had to at least keep this hush-hush.

I thought for a second and then signified to him that if my mum found out that I was communicating to a complete stranger she would explode. I can’t believe he actually got the message after all my waving arms and pointing but he gave me a reassuring nod and said “ me too”. That was good to know and we both smiled at each other. I so thought he was going to give me a weird look and wish he’d never seen me.

He then looked away and I thought “oh”. But then he produced a pad and pen and began writing something. I wished I had thought of that brainwave but nonetheless, I found some paper myself, and a pen on the floor. It was more than pure luck that I’d thought to bring a wadge of A4 paper to doodle on. I would pat myself on the back later.

After a few seconds, he held up the piece of paper and pressed it against the window showing something scribbled on it in capital letters.

I was just about to start reading it when the traffic moved, and his car drove forwards. Typical! But then we inched forward and I craned to see what the paper read. I said: “Hello, my name is Jack. What’s yours?”

Well, I was certainly glad that it didn’t say something like “I wanna…” Yeah, well you get the idea. Well, Jack, that was a cool name! At least it wasn’t something like Cuthbert! I checked my mum hadn’t seen and with a beating heart I then scribbled down onto my paper, “Hi, I’m Heidi. How are you?” I held it up and he smiled. He was just about to write something down in reply when his car began moving again. This was so annoying! But then my hopes rose and the car chugged forwards again. I try to really unobviously stretch to see what he held up when I realised with utter dismay that we were taking the next turning off the motorway!!! NOO. I knew something like this would happen. IT was just too good to be true. The boy saw what was happening and quickly looked down. What was he doing?? Quick, we were moving! Further away. He flattened the paper against the window again and I saw a jumble of numbers. Thank the Lord I realised almost instantly that he was giving me his mobile number! I quickly copied it down onto some paper and waved as he disappeared further up the motorway. He smile and I waved back.

With all the fidgeting and waving my mum started to twig.

“What are you doing back there, Heidi?” My mum asked, suspiciously, looking through the rear view mirror right at me. I panicked. I would have to lie; there was nothing else for to it!

“Oh, I was just getting a bit hot so I was moving around a bit.” Please believe me! Don’t ask me any more questions. I writhed my hands in anticipation.

“Ok,”she replied, frowning. “But I thought I saw you waving at someone.” She looked at me again suspiciously through the mirror.

“No,” I replied innocently. Thank goodness she didn’t ask me anything else. I smiled to myself as I reread his mobile number. At least I had some sort of hope of seeing him again. I quickly got out my mini address book from my bag and wrote down at the back: Jack – 07639521788. This was just in case I lost the piece of paper, so then I would have a second copy. Unfortunately, I then came to the realisation that I would have to wait until I got back from the holiday before I could even think about phoning him, or rather, try to. There was no chance that I was going to try my luck with my Mum around; it would be way too risky. Oh well, at least it wouldn’t be an anticlimax when I got back from the holiday. I sighed and got out my puzzle book again. There were still many hours yet to kill. At least I could daydream about something now.

Normally I would have been really happy if my holiday away had gone slowly but not on this occasion! Of course, I had had a really fun time with my mum, and I had shown no signs of distraction but when I went to sleep and on journeys to towns and beaches, my mind would drift to all the things that could happen when I would try to contact Jack. What was I going to say? What were we going to talk about? In the end, I would always wind up thinking, ‘I’ll just have to see how it pans out.’

Finally, the last day came and it took ages for all the stuff to be packed back into the car. I found that I was in fact quite sad that my holiday had ended and began wishing that I’d been a bit more enthusiastic about going on beach walks and eating out in the posh restaurants. Well, here I was again, staring aimlessly through the back window as cars sped past. Rain drizzled down the outside of the window making passing cars just a red and white blur in the darkness of the evening. I dozed from time to time and listened to my cd player. I stupidly thought that I would somehow see Jack again but my luck was hardly going to stretch to those lengths. It ended up begin one of those journeys that was never ending and bored you to the extent that you just sat there literally twiddling your thumbs. After many houses I began to see familiar road signs and soon Brentwood began popping up. Yes! We were nearly home.

Chapter 5

I sat on my bed that evening, holding my mobile in my sweaty hand, with the piece of crumpled paper in the other. Why was I so nervous? Perhaps he would start talking to me and then realise what a big mistake it had all been and turned out to be something stupid he’d done on a whim. Or what if it was a dare from one of his friends? Or he’d given me a fake mobile number as a laugh…but he didn’t seem like the kind of person who would do that and if it didn’t turn out, then no big deal. It wasn’t like we were going out or anything. What am I talking about? Just do it!

I punched in the numbers and hovered my finger over the green button, my heart pounding. After doing many mississippi’s I finally pressed ‘call’ and listened to the dialling tone. It seemed like hours passed before the tone broke off and I heard a voice:

“Hello?” My heart leapt as my first thought was “Wow! His voice!”

“Hi, it’s Heidi” I replied in a dry voice and subsequently cleared my throat.

“Oh hi, how’s it going?” He had a strong Irish accent and was it just me, or could I sense a slight nervousness in his voice?

 “You’ve called back soon!” Oh great! Now he’d think I was this needy girl who was desperate for a boyfriend. Well, not far off. “Nah, I’m only joking.” I let out a sigh of relief. “I’ve been back from my holiday for a few days now. I was wondering when you’d call.” My stomach did that leaping thing which I hadn’t felt for a long time. This was going better than I expected!

“Hey, do you live in Ireland?” I asked.

“Well, I did, but actually, I just recently moved to Kent with my family. My sister and I are going to university in London and my parents were thinking of moving to somewhere in England anyway, so…”

“Oh right.” I couldn’t help smiling as I stupidly thought ‘not far from home then…good solid family…things just get better…don’t be silly! You’re jumping to waaay too many conclusions and you’ve said like three words to him!’

The End

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