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Dating's Dirty Little Secret

Yeah, you’ve done it. Sure you have, at one time or another. The Drive-By. It may have been an afterthought or planned with the precision of a military maneuver, and it probably occurred late at night or early in the morning. We’re talking about the quick, mostly surreptitious trip down a road to view his/her driveway. Of course, the driveway’s there—you wanted to see what was (or was not) parked in it.

When did it happen? Probably at the beginning or end of a relationship. At first, you two were budding, but there had been no official handshake to close the deal and on those days (nights really) when you weren’t seeing each other there was the question, that question. And at the end, when facing the dregs at the bottom of the bottle, when it was over in your head but not in your heart, again there was the question, that question.

Either way, you wanted information, the evil fruit, and you drove by the address of the possible-to-be or the once-was.

Head down, eyes averted, hoping to see but praying to not be seen, you made the pass…sometimes more than once. The tightness of your chest, the flutter of your pulse, the seasickness in your stomach, all served to say, “Enough of doubt! Set me free!” But what bitter information it was, for there was no way to know for sure, for if a car was there, whose? If not, was one there last night or would be there tonight or tomorrow night?

Sweaty hands on the steering wheel. Or, if you had a co-conspirator friend who drove, the grit on the floor mat in your knees as you ducked out of sight. The hope for darkness to hide, but not conceal.

You were young, you were middle-aged, you were senior—in all cases you were old enough to know better yet young enough to care—the differences of the car driven, the clothes worn, or the dollar signs of the address matter not.

And, finally, you hated yourself for stooping to such lows and were ashamed. Regardless what you saw or didn’t see, The Bard’s words ring true: “It is not nor it cannot come to good.”

But you did it again anyway.

Mike Sledge

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