the big game

i drive us towards our old university
backroads of course, efficiency is for work not play
i pull off into a weed filled driveway of an abandoned farmhouse
she reloads the drinks
while i pop the top off her miata

i haven’t driven a stick in years
years ago i traded control and power
for the convenience of not having to think
about shifting gears
but now i shove and pull and clutch and rev
and smile
past fields growing more golden with each reminiscing minute
old miles flowing out underneath new tires

she looks at me questioningly as we pull into johnnies tavern
i tell her we’re just going to do one shot and then leave
laughing, she points to the jim beam bottle in the back seat
but i am already headed across the packed parking lot
inside she follows in my wake as i navigate thru the churning sea
of alumni and pre-alumni preparing to rock chalk jayhawk
we toast loudly, forgetting how we ignored our team as students

before heading to the game, we take one final detour
to a little known park i liked on the banks of the kansas river
a group of kids on the play ground watch us pull in
in the middle of the empty parking lot i turn and ask her if she’s heard
that old saying about how its better to ask for forgiveness than permission
she nods and looks at me, a serious look on her face, waiting
i smile and do something i’ve wanted to do all afternoon…
rev then engine, pop the clutch, stomp the gas and turn the wheel hard left
virgin tires start to smoke as we spin like a merry-go-round
i grin, she laughs, the kids cheer loudly
‘this is not what i was expecting!’ she yells
over the revving engine and squealing tires
i stop doing doughnuts and and then calmly exit the park
‘me neither’ i reply, a big smile on my face

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