It's a hot summer day in Mt. Sinai, and going down the highway, a young woman turns the station on her radio in hope of hearing some good music in the middle of nowhere. After a long day of dealing with obnoxious home buyers and their constant critism about the real estates she showed, the last thing she needed to do is worry wether or not she made commission. Turns the radio onto the classic station, she sighs in relief and continues driving down, completely erasing away her day long stress.
Two hours go by and she notices up ahead a car on the shoulder with its hood up and steam coming out. Apparently someone's car, a very nice car has overheated. Contemplating for a few seconds on wether or not she want to pull over or dry on by, she quickly remembers the good samaritan rule and decides to pull her wrangler up behind the black lexus. She comes out of her jeep adn walks casually over the hot lexus and sees a man hovering over his engine.
"Hey, you alrite here?" she asks.
"Well if you're good at fixing up expensive cars..." he responds back.
He looks up to her to see who he is answering to. His dark brown hair slightly covered his blue eyes from the steam and sweat, though he still managed to look up to whom he was talking to. The girl stood there frozen. The face looked familiar for some reason, though she couldn't think of the name or relation to her right away. Still standing there, staring at the man's blue eyes, the man stuck out his hand and introduced himself, "Hi, I'm Sam, you must be..."
"Cara..." she studdered alittle.
"Cara? Oh that's a nice name, hey Cara you wouldn't happen to have a working cell phone on you, do you? Mine just so convieniently stopped working."
"Ummm yes, yes I do, let me go get it in my car."
"Cara? Cara?! That's not me, my name is Jennifer, completely different from Cara!" she uttered to herself.
Scrambling to find her cell phone in her brief cas, she tried to think of where that face is coming from. That dark brown hair, those pale blue eyes, and that look, that sinister yet contradicting innocent look that man had in his eyes. She just could attach it to something she had gone through.
As she went back to the man's car, she asked for his name, "Here you go, I'm sorry I didn't catch your name..."
"Well that's because I didn't throw it yet!" he chuckled, "It's Sam, Samuel Johnson. And thank you..." he smiled at her.
That smile! That smile also had that familiarity to it! While Jennifer was still thinking in the back of her mind where this man is from in her thoughts, Sam dialed in for a tow truck to pick up his car. He was polite and made the call short and tenderly handed the cell back to Jennifer. "So, did u have any luck?" she asked.
"Well the minimum they can come here to get my car is three hours, which I find absolutely ridiculous, but what can you do?" he gave her another smile.
"Well where were you heading to?"
"Oh to visit my hometown out in Islip, haven't been there for over ten years since I finished collge and left. So I decided to give her a visit and see if it still looks the same. You? Where were you headed?"
"Back to Islip myself, I'm visiting my mom and family for the weekend. Just coming in from dealing with real estate people, total assholes but hey I'm one of them as well."
They both laugh. Jennifer looks at the man again and finds his laughter and smile at the same time all too familiar... it's just... where is it from? An awkward silence falls between them for a second and then Jennifer does a quick move. "Hey do you want me to give you a lift back to Islip? I mean it's another forty-five minute drive from here."
"Sure, why not. They probably won't get to my car until Christ comes back. Let me go get my things in my car and I'll lock her up."
Sam hastily gathers his things and walks over and goes into "Cara's" jeep. She pulls out of the shoulder and continues her drive down the highway. Her classical station playes soft Mozart and Bach, while the two start up a conversation.
"So which part of Islip are you from?" Jennifer asks.
"Oh I grew up in the southern part of it. I originally am from Farmingdale, but my parents seperated and then divorced so I had to go and live with my father out in Islip. It was alrite, we lived in nice section of that place. How about you?" he asked with a softness to his voice.
"Well I'm from within that area as well. My family and I are originally from Queens and then decided to move there because the area seemed a lot safter here in Islip. I don't really remember too much of my childhood. Though it was quite an expierience growing up in Islip."
"Really how so?" he asked with a bit of interest in his voice.
"Well I lived there for bout sixteen years and then went to UCLA for college and let me tell you, California is completely different from New York let me tell ya, it's not only the weather that is different but the people and atmosphere as well." she laughed as she finished her sentence, " And so after that I came back to New York, work as a real estate agent, to deal with assholes and pricks on a daily basis."
They both chuckle. Then Jennifer askes the question,"What do you do?"
"Well..." he hesitates at first but then reluctantly agrees to continue, "I'm a writer and I am working on a book, it's more for personal reasons and this is going to be my fifth one. I have not been in Islip in years, too many bad memories and struggles, I just had to get out of there as soon as I was done with college. Ten years go by, I go through a lot of life changing events outside of Islip. Though each one was very fufilling and made me learn a lot bout myself. I have been on a writer's block and my editor's deadline is quickly winding down on me so I had to think of a new theme to write about. Since I have written mostly about fictional narration, I fugred I might as well go against what I am usually good at and write something that is true and did happen in my life. I'm sorry I'm boring you, Ill stop now..."
"Oh no Sam, you're ok, you're not boring me. I find it very inspiring to hear that writers go back to their roots to find something creative to bring out about themselves. Who they are, and what shaped them to be the way they are now. Are you going to be talking about one particular event or are you going to just write an indirect auto-biography of yourself?"
"I don't know yet... but we'll see." he quickly responded.
An awkward but not so compelety silent moment fell between them. Sam looked out the window for ten minutes and Jennifer readjusted the reception on her tuner.
"Yeah so... what else can you tell me about yourself?" Sam asked.
"Well, I'm not good at describing myself, so you can ask me about myself and I'll do the same to you." she smiled to Sam.
"Okay, fair enough, do you have kids of your own back at home?"
"Nope. I don't really have the time nor do I have the capibilty to have kids."
"Why do you say that? You're incapable of having children?"
"Well I have a thyroid problem which inhibits me, so yeah, I'm currently trying to figure out a way to have some, because I love to have a family someday."
"Have you and your husband talked about means of having kids?"
"Fiance--- and no we have just been so busy that we haven't had time to sit down and discuss what we should do. Though he's coming home from business next week so hopefully we'll be able to. Next question?" she smiled and then laughed.
"Oh well, how long have you and your fiance been together?" he leaned towards her with an increase of interest tone in his voice.
"About ten years. We started dating when I was in highschool and he was in the service, a year before he started college. He's from my hometown obviously and we share a common interest in the business field. We started out as friends/ classmates in highschool because he was a grade older than me. Then when he was in the military, during his weekends off, he and I would hang out together. The rest is history from there."
"Ah, I see." a slight pause,"How are things? Is he good to you at least?" he chuckled when he asked that question, "I'm just stating that just for kicks and giggles but at the same time with sincerity."
"Yes, yes he does, he's been good to me for the past ten years." Jennifer looks ahead to see more cars coming on off the ramp. "How bout you? Do you have that special 'someone' in your life?"
"I do actually, she's out in Port Jeff visiting her family this weekend. She is just absolutely amazing to me. I have not felt so connection with anyone since my last serious relationship bout ten years ago. I mean I have dated around and such though my current one is very special to me."
As the two wind down closer to I slip, Jennifer is still struggling with whom she has seen this man's face before. The only pieces so far she has had is he is from her town, he's an aspiring writer, he has a current girlfriend whom makes him feel special. Yes, Jennifer is moving in fast on whom this man is. She still can't put the puzzle together. Sam continues his story, "Which is also another reason why I am going back home, not only just to visit but like you said earlier, to find my roots and what made me, me. You see there was this one event that changed my life and drove me to push myself to be better and break out of the 'small town' mentality. It was a weird situation, and a rough road going through it. Let's put it this way; I once was part of something beautiful til one day that beauty, that light that I had dedicated my whole life and entity to, turned dark and betrayed me."
By the change of tone in Sam's face, Jennifer's heart started to race faster. She didn't know why she had this overcome feeling of guilt, like when a child is caught brekaing something, she didn't know the man, or actually knew where he is coming from in her mind. She had a feeling that the story that Sam was about to tell could be a classic love tragedy, she braced herself to listen to drama.
"Yeah so, pretty much, my former and my former partner in crime, got together. I don't know if she really did what she did, though I was just generally upset the fact that this beauty that I once loathed and loved, was snatched away from me. My heart took a long time to heal, it did eventually, though the journey I had to go through in the healing process was not sweet thing. There wasn't a day where I wished I had done something about it, during the time, before I met my current one, oh and by the way her name is Sally." he lightly laughed,"I mean I really thought she was the one for me. But unfortunately, love can blind one's mind and senses, so yeah, I had to deal with the heartache. It's been over ten years now, I sometimes wonder if they are still together. I wonder what she still looks like, if she looks the same or not, what she has been up to and if she did fufill her goals. Oh well, what can you do?" he stopped for a moment and stared out the window. He broke the silence once again, "But that's done and over with, I have matured over the years, don' t regret a single thing. I'm very happy with where I am right now. I'm going to steal a line from Titanic now; You know I got air in my lungs, a few blank sheets of paper. You know I love waking up every morning not knowing what is going to happen next or who I am going to meet. You just gotta live life to the fullest and make every minute count, because you just don't know what will happen next."
Impressed at how Sam pulled that one off, Jennifer's mind eased a little about where the man's features looked all too familiar, and just got in with the conversation. Thirty-minutes have finally passed and Sam and Jennifer arrive into Islip. Sam directs her to where she should drop him off. He gets out of the car with his bag and walks around to Jennifer's driver side window. "Thank you so much Cara for the ride, it was a pleasure to have you endure my annoyingness on the way." he gave a tender smile to her.
"It's no problem at all. I wish you the best in your upcoming book and hope it sells well."
They shake hands, Sam walks across the street onto a library, turns and waves to Jennifer, as she drives off. Her mind is less hectic than it was earlier. For some reason after tweny minutes of the ride when by, she calmed down and felt this weird funny feeling when she was driving Sam back home. She still couldn't piece together why the man look so familiar to her and why he just popped up in her head out of nowhere. She finally reached Valentine's Ave and stayed at her mother's house for the weekend.
A year later...
Around the same summer day, when Jennifer picked up Sam from the highway, she and her now new husband Rob, were window shopping around Manahattan. They were passing by Borders when she saw in the window a "NEW RELEASE" sign for novels. "The Ride Home" was the new book out and low and behold the familiar name Samuel Johnson. Jennifer walked into the store and purchased a book.
Later that day, went she and Rob got back to the apartment, she got down to business and started reading. It was interesting in the beginning, she was intrigued by the thoughts that ran through Sam's mind. He was extremely complex as he was growing up and the types of situations that he went through in Islip. A few hours go by and by chapter five of the book, second to last one, he went into detail about his last serious relationship with his former girlfriend. How much emotionally he was drained when he discovered her true self and what she did. The bits and pieces of letters that he wrote to her, telling her how she felt were portrayed in the book.
Jennifer heart started racing more and more as she reading through each line carefully. The scribbles of letters that were printed seemed all too familiar. Tears were starting to collect because of confusion and at the same time that sick and twisted feeling of where this book was going. Chapter six came around really fast and it was titled "The Ride Home".
Samuel had written in detail about his driving expierience with this woman who called herself, "Cara".
"As I was hovering over my engine, pissed as hell at myself for not reminding my head to refill the coolant system in my car, A shadowy figure gave a brief moment of relief from the hot sun over my face. I look up and see what I thought was something I was hallucinating, but was not,. it was... her. The one. It took me a couple of seconds to let reality sink in that the woman whom I knew ten years ago, the one who stabbed me in the heart, was in front of me. First time that I had seen her in years. She looked a little different by the hair and body built, but those eyes, oh those dark hazel eyes, were still the same. Innocent looking, but completely opposite of what she did to me. From the way how she had that same confused look, like she always had, I knew I had to say something after she asked if I needed help. I knew it. I knew who she was the second I saw her. She told me her name was Cara, though I had a feeling that my face looked familiar to her, she just couldn't place it. No surpise there.
After a moment of small words being exchanged and her lending of her cell phone to let me call up triple A, she offered me a ride back to Islip. I was a little hesitant at first but I decided to take up the offer. She looked older, gained some weight but not too much. Her hair was slicked back in a low ponytail. I assume she was coming back from some sort of business considering she was wearing those suit skirts. We rode in her car, with Mozart and Bach playing in the background. Conversation was light at first, then it gradually got into more of the inner areas of eachother. Topic of relationships came up, and I said my part, and she said hers. She's still with that asshole. Amazing. Well I guess it goes with the saying, "Birds of a feather, flock together."
Though I gave her credit for still wanting to have a family. I knew she was one who wanted to have kids, wether they're her own blood or not. Despite what I mentioned earlier, that when she and I had to go to the clinic to secretly abort what could have been our son, I thought she wouldn't want to have kids again. My god the choices we make to satisfy ourselves.
After a few moments of iterating my past expieriences, I pulled a philosopical moment that I pulled from Leonardo DiCaprio from the Titanic, where each day must be lived to the fullest. That every minute should be accountable. Well that's the most important thing I learned from her, that she always told me, "make the most of your life Sam, otherwise it'll pass you by and there's no way of getting that minute back..."
Well I took that advice very personally, and made the most of my life, after it happened.
A half hour goes by and we reached our destination, she dropped me off by Ruby Tuesdays across from the library. We exchanged our goodbyes and parted ways. A parted of me wanted to sit down and cry. I don't know why, and I still don't to this day. Maybe someday I'll figure it out. It's interesting to see something that you thought you never would see again, in the most unlikely places. Of all the people that had to stop and help me, it had to be my former enemy. Maybe our final talk on the phone ten years ago wasn't the final goodbye... but this one instead. It was bittersweet indeed."
Jennifer closes the final page in that chapter and reads into the biography of the author. The name Samuel Johnson is printed in bold ink, but another name below it was Michael Buhr.
"Michael Buhr..." she silently utters to herself, holding back tears.
It was all coming together, Michael Buhr was her former, the one she betrayed and broke his heart. She meant the world to him, and he was just a ploy to her happiness. Jennifer goes to her room, pulls out a small shoebox, opens it and in it were papers and letters that were written by Michael. His love for her, his hopes and dreams that they would be together forever.
She takes all the letters together, holds it close to her chest, tears rolling down her face. Her hazel eyes stares out the window. The words that come out of her mouth only to be said to the air,