This story is dedicated to one my friends who used to be biker. While she wasn’t an official Hell’s Angel, I’m pretty sure she was “hell on wheels” when she rode her bike. She’s still mighty feisty:~)
Dr. Lahari, my therapist, suggested going to the movies would help my phobia of thunderstorms. In her nasal voice, she said, “Camille, pick a loud movie. You won’t even hear …” She lowered her voice to a whisper, “the thunder.”
The next time the Weather Channel showed lots of red and yellow near my town indicating thunder storms, I found myself sitting on a sticky wooden seat, waiting for a movie to start.
I dropped my worry beads and leaned over to get them. Coming up, I caught a man staring at me. I knew he was looking at me because we were the only two people waiting for the next playing of Expendables 2.
I try not to make judgments based on appearance, but this man gave me the heebie-jeebies. He was around my age, about sixty. Chains hung from his clothes. A spiked leather bracelet complemented his studded biker boots. Bright tattoos peeked out from under his t-shirt. He was a biker man.
I don’t like biker men, but I wasn’t about to let this one scare me. The approaching storm was bad enough. I folded my arms and glared back. He shifted uncomfortably, but didn’t look away.
After a few minutes of our stare-off, I got up and sauntered over to the ticket boy as if I had a question to ask. He was studying his nails; I tapped his shoulder. With an arched thin eyebrow, he asked, “Do you need something, ma’am?
Using my head, I indicated the biker man and whispered, “See that man; the one who looks like an aging Hell’s Angel. He’s bothering me. Make him move.”
My attempt at subtlety went over his head; the ticket boy pointed directly at the biker man and said, “You mean that man. What’s he done to you?”
“Well, nothing, but he could. I’m a woman alone. He might be dangerous.”
The ticket boy sighed. “Ma’am, I can’t make him move unless he does something. He’s got every right to stand there.”
“Well, he’s scaring me!” My voice was louder and higher than intended.
Raising his hand in a calming manner, the ticket boy said, “Okay, settle down. I’ll talk to him.”
He strolled over to the biker man. They talked. I watched. There were lots of gestures and words I couldn’t hear.
The ticket boy returned, shrugged his shoulders and said. “He doesn’t want to move.” With that said, he began studying his nails again and ignored me.
I returned to my sticky seat, but before I could sit down, the biker man stomped over, chains jingling. “What’s your problem, lady? I’m not doing anything to you.”
“You’re staring. It’s creepy.” I lifted my chin. He moved closer. I stood my ground and looked up into his eyes. My goodness, he has nice blue eyes.
He screwed that thought by snarling, “You got a problem with bikers, lady?”
“Not all bikers, just you! Leave me alone or I’ll get the manager.”
“Last time I heard, looking isn’t a crime. Then again, why am I looking at an uptight old lady like you?”
“Look who’s talking old. Have you looked in the mirror lately?”
We were saved when the movie doors opened and people spilled out. I scooted inside. After settling in, I scanned the room and there he was sitting two rows back, smiling at me.
“Shit.” I whispered. Our eyes locked.
He mouthed, “Thought you could escape me? Wrong!”
My heart jumped. I slouched in my seat as the lights went down.
Just as the movie started, a big boom rattled the building, followed by another. Dr. Lahari lied to me! I heard this thunder just fine.
My heart started an erratic race. I dug in my purse for my meds, but the bottle slipped. Pills spilled, rolling down the darkened floor. Heat rushed through me. Drops of sweat fell into my eyes. I gasped for breath.
I stumbled out of my chair and fell on the stairs. Darkness closed in. Paper crinkled. Something smelling like popcorn was placed over my mouth. A familiar voice commanded. “Breathe lady! It’s just a panic attack. You’re gonna be fine.”
I took a breath and then another. Slowly, the panic eased. I opened my eyes, squinting in the bright light of the ticket boy’s flashlight. The biker man was leaning over me, holding a popcorn bag to my face.
“You! Get away from me.” I scrambled backwards, knocking the popcorn bag to the floor.
His chains jingled as he shook his head. “I should’ve let you pass out, but I know how it feels.”
He chuckled at my surprised look. “What, bikers can’t have panic attacks? Dogs do it for me. I sweat, can’t breathe, and eventually pass out. One time I woke up and this big old St. Bernard was licking my face. I passed out again.”
I smothered a laugh. Biker men weren’t supposed to be funny.
My show was over. The other people trying to watch the movie yelled for quiet. The biker man extended his hand. I took it and we went outside.
We sat together on the sticky bench. He asked, “Are you feeling better?”
I spoke to my feet. They didn’t care if I was embarrassed. “Yeah, I am. Thanks for what you did.”
The biker man’s words came out in rush. “Since we’re missing the movie, you want to share panic attack stories over a cup of coffee? My name’s Bob, by the way.”
OMG, he was asking me out! My stomach flip-flopped. I raised my eyes and really looked at him. He was cute, once you got used to the chains and the tattoos. Plus, he understood the embarrassment of breathing into paper bags. Dr. Lahari always told me to be more daring; here was my chance.
I nodded, stuck my hand out and said, “I’m Camille.” His hand was warm in mine. We walked out together. The ticket boy stared at us with his mouth open, ignoring his nails. I smiled at him.
* * * * *
This week is Jim’s spring break. We plan on doing springy kind of things, like sleeping in to catch the extra hour we lost, maybe taking a few road trips or doing spring cleaning. Anyone want to bet on whether or not we get to the “spring cleaning?” Anyway, this is my only post for this week, but I will get out and visit.