“How do you know so much about motorcycles? Did your dad ride?”
She laughs outright at my question. “My dad on a motorcycle? No way. Dad was a mixture of leather, coffee, and books. Not oil, sweat, and grease.”
After lying down on her back, she scoots up next to the bike, checking the rims and spokes to make sure there’s no damage. “It kind of became a hobby of mine after my dad died. Do you know the junkyard off Chantilly? Never mind, of course you don’t. Anyway, I found Harley there when I was looking for some old furniture to decorate our trailer with.” She looks up at me. “We didn’t always live in a trailer, you know.”
I try to hide my surprise. I assumed the opposite. “What happened?”
“After Dad died, Mom became sick. We couldn’t afford to live in our house in the suburbs anymore, so we sold it and everything in it, and found the trailer on the outskirts of town. That’s when I dropped out of school and started taking on odd jobs.”
She says it all with such a matter-of-fact tone, but I sense the truth. It was hard for her. It was more than any teenage girl should have to deal with. But she’s too strong to admit it.
She sits up, wiping her hands on her shorts. Unconsciously, I find my eyes shifting to her bare legs.
“I didn’t have a choice,” she says. She rises to her feet, straddles the bike, and bounces up and down a little. I can only assume she’s checking the chassis to make sure everything is working properly.
“Anyway,” she says. “When I found Harley, I took her home, researched antique motorcycles, and fixed her up. There’s a shop near the Hollow that sells parts, so that’s where I headed after I got my first paycheck.” She pats her bike fondly. “Never regretted it.”
I watch as she turns the key and the engine roars to life, bringing a brilliant smile to her face. I want to tell her all the ways I think she’s amazing, how she’s unlike any girl I’ve ever met, how I find her beautiful, resourceful, intelligent, and intriguing, but she doesn’t want to hear those things. Not from me anyway.