STORIES

by Antoine Bargel

A Dream Come True

The 2-door, hatchback limousine drove by either in the mornings, around 11, or in the afternoons, around 3, then back again a half-hour later. From the semi-basement of her uncle's chocolate shop, where she stood day in and day out preparing special orders – gift boxes and baskets, wedding favors, bags of eggs and truffles adorned with colorful ribbons – Lisa, 16, could only see part of the luxury vehicle as it slowly passed, all shiny and black, on Main Street in front of the shop. Through the dirty glass pane, beyond the feet of occasional passers-by, she distinguished the silhouette of the driver, a serious, uniformed man with a cap, and then the tinted windows behind which lay a cocoon of unimaginable luxury.

“One day, I just might ride in one of these!” she thought to herself, feeling daring and a tingle of excitement down in her thighs, bashful and brash just for the thought. She felt her mother's severe stare as if her mother had been there, she felt the same effect inside although she was alone and her hands were working, all the while, with automatic speed and agility. Pretending that her mother was in front of her, in which case she would never have, she shrugged and added more loudly, with a tone of protest, but still in her inner voice: “Why I just very well might!”

Her uncle was her mother's brother; he ran deliveries and met with important customers all over the county. His wife ran the shop upstairs; when she took lunch, she had Lisa stand for her behind the counter, and Lisa ate afterwards, downstairs, the sandwiches that her mother had prepared for her in the morning, and left by her lunch box on the kitchen counter. Lisa lived 5 miles out of town, in what was formerly a farm and now a slightly dilapidated abode for her father, unemployed construction foreman, her mother, nurse, and her five brothers and one sister. The eldest, Lisa rode a rusty bicycle to work every weekday, with her lunch box strapped on the back. She had dropped out of school the year before.

She sometimes wondered, during those lonely days spent in her semi-basement, how it would come to pass, that she would ride down Main Street in the fanciest car that she had ever seen. It was complicated. Obviously, no one she knew owned one. There would have to be changes in her life, and not just such changes that could be concretely defined by an amount of money or even a social status, a profession like actress, model, or cosmonaut. No, other changes more essential as well, more profound and diffuse, changes that she could only suspect or vaguely imagine, like how it would feel when she would finally lose her virginity. She wasn't allowed to go out on week-end nights, so her prospects in that regard also were limited.

In fact, the two equally unreal realms became progressively somewhat confused in her reveries. In order to ride in the large black car, in the painstakingly construed life-scenarios that led to this climax of wealth and fulfillment, there was usually a man, at some point, a rather mysterious, but dark-haired man, the likes of which she had not seen before outside of TV and the movie theater. Yet she was ready to recognize him instantly, one day, if the time came, just as he would recognize her.

But the days were long and boring. By the time to go home, she would generally have exhausted all the possible ways for her dream to come true. Life, she sometimes thought, was like a box of chocolates, of which someone had already eaten all the fillings.

All she had left was the youthful hope that tomorrow, maybe, things would be different. And since today inevitably led to tomorrow, today was okay then! In the ending days she rode her bicycle through the fields, on narrow country roads, at times rising from the seat and yelling, after checking that there was not a soul around: “Yes, Mother, one day I will ride in that limo!”, and at other times sitting just so, leaning forward, that it became interesting, and images of a brunet paramour flashed before her eyes...

One such evening, a speeding farm truck failed to spot her on the road and a few days later, she did go down Main Street in the back of that luxurious vehicle of her dreams. Her family followed, all packed together in a rusty, beat-up car.