by Freda Douglas
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Mary Ellen was enjoying the perfect Fall day, which was her favorite time of year, by taking a solitary leisurely hike through the woods at the edge of town above the community park when she suddenly inhaled the scent of wood smoke, felt a cold wind stirring her hair, and saw a movement in the distance.
Startled, she jumped back and braced her feet, ready to run if it came closer.
Suddenly, it spoke. “I didn’t mean to scare you, Mary Ellen,” a male voice exclaimed softly.
“You didn’t scare me. It’s just that I thought I was alone. Who are you? And how did you know my name? I don’t know you. and where did you come from?
Sticking out his hand and coming closer, slowly, to not frighten her, “My name is Roger, and we attend the same school. I have been following you.”
“Following me? What for?”
“I am an upperclassman. I have wanted to meet you, but I have been afraid to approach you in school.”
“Why would you be afraid?” she asked, noticing how mannerly, polite, handsome, well dressed and tall he was. Why, indeed? was the thought that ran through her head.
“You’re unapproachable,” he said quietly .
Startled, she exclaimed “Unapproachable? Me? I never thought of myself like that.”
“Then if I asked you out on a date, you wouldn’t turn me down?”
“I don’t know. I’d have to think about that. Give me a call some time at 654-3210 and I’ll see,” as she headed down the trail alone, leaving Roger looking after her in bewilderment and maybe, just a little hope.
Later, after she had returned from her hike, Roger called. “What about going roller skating?” he said after they talked a while.
“Gee, I haven’t gone skating for a long time. I might not even be able to keep on my feet.”
“That’s OK. I’ll be there to pick you up. How about sevenish?
“That will be fine. Remember, though, my curfew is 11.”
As they drove towards the rink in his Jeep a pickup flew past them on a curve. “Wow, doesn’t that driver know a solid double yellow line means no passing? Suppose somebody would have been coming the other way?” Mary Ellen queried of Roger.
“That’s what you have to watch out for when you’re driving. Idiots like that cause accidents.”
They had driven only a short distance when they saw the pickup straddling the guardrails, with the driver sitting on the guardrail, holding his head. “We’d better stop. Maybe he needs help,” exclaimed Roger, as he slowed the Jeep. “I’d suggest you stay put,” he cautioned his date as he started towards the driver.
“What happened? Are you hurt?” Roger inquired of the driver, noting the bloody handkerchief the accident victim was holding to his face.
“Would you believe some blithering idiot came down the road going too fast and forced me off the road and kept on going? Then when I tried to get out to check the damage, I fell against the rearview mirror and broke it and cut my face.”
“Do you want me to call a wrecker or do you want me to take you to the ER?”
“If you don’t mind taking me to the ER I think I might have some glass in my face.”
“What about your pickup?”
“I’ll call my dad from the hospital. He carries insurance to cover wrecker service.”
After they took the driver of the pickup to the hospital ER, Roger got back in the Jeep and suggested to Mary Ellen “It’s a little late to go skating now. Why don’t we stop at The Lily Pad and get something to eat. We can talk there and get better acquainted then I’ll be sure to get you home by curfew.”
Pleased that he remembered her casual mention of curfew time Mary Ellen nodded her agreement.
Later as they sat in the restaurant reminiscing about their evening, Mary Ellen was mentioning how the truck driver had passed them on a solid yellow line going too fast, then Roger spoke up and said “I hate to say this, but he got what he deserved.”
After they arrived home and Roger escorted her to the door, Mary Ellen was telling her parents about the accident and what Roger had done to help the driver involved when her dad chimed in with “what that driver didn’t realize is that if you do something wrong, it will turn around and bite you in the butt every time.”
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