Conscience
Bev Vines-Haines
Dorsal Contest Winner


The Harley, more like a dot, appeared in my rear view mirror.† It took on shape and dimension at an alarming rate.† Just how fast was this guy going?† I maneuvered into the right hand lane, cautious, out of the way, enjoying the power, the heft, the muscle of my BMW. †††

The biker approached, pulled alongside and slowed to match my speed.† I felt his gaze, almost confrontational, and kept my attention on the road.† †††

For as long as I could.† †††

Then I turned.† Our eyes locked.† †††

How long since Iíd ridden like that, wild, free, wind blowing through my hair?†

He measured me with a look.† Condemnation surged across the space between us.† Suddenly feeling exposed in my Akris Punto wool jacket, I squirmed in the leather seat and pressed the accelerator, surging ahead.† He caught up, his challenge still obvious. †††

Jesus!† What was he doing?† Did I know him? †††

It was possible, of course.† Back in the day, in college, Iíd been something of a cause whore.† Iíd been a protester, an idealist, a righteous thorn in my fatherís side.† So what if time had dulled the passion?† †††

So fucking what?† Everyone changed.† We got married, had kids, invested in our 401 Ks, and reaped the benefits of those hard won college degrees.†

Only, this guy hadnít changed.† I could see it in the angry lines of his face, the faded jeans and loose-limbed body attesting to long hours on the road, going nowhere. †††

Exactly.† †††

Iíd arrived and he was still going nowhere, a dried up Peter Pan, smoking pot with his Lost Boys.† Still planning revolutions to save the world.†† †††

What the hell was wrong with owning a BMW?† Or designer clothes for that matter?† I slowed, expecting to see a Kerry bumper sticker on the back of the bike.† †††

Okay, no bumper sticker.† No matter.† His politics emanated off that Harley.† No surprises.† I knew him, or rather his kind, well.† So long long ago, arms linked, holding hands, singing Kum Baya and all that other folk drivel around a campfire or a VW van, planning our next protest, our next impotent endeavor. †††

So what?† So damn what?† Go play a video game or write a blog.† Explore a little technology and you might just join the current millennium.† Become a part of the investor class.† I glared at him and it was then I noticed the small red and pink ribbons on his jacket.† †††

AIDS.† Breast cancer. †††

Still fighting.† Still tilting at those windmills.† †††

Damn you, I mouthed. †††

He looked me up and down, dismissed me with a sneer and sped off into the night. †††

Idealistic bastard.


First published: November, 2007
comments to the writer: knob'swriter@iceflow.com