What Was I Thinking?


“Let’s go for it!” I pedaled faster on Flagler Avenue, intent on gliding our Conch Cruisers to Key West’s east end. I glanced up at the sparkling night sky. We could never see the stars from where we live on Long Island.

“It’s too far.” My husband’s voice held humor.

I knew what he was thinking. I was rarely the competitive one in the family. “C’mon. The weather’s beautiful.” We’d had an incredible day swimming at South Beach and exploring the stores on Upper Duval. After a lazy dinner at Historic Seaport we’d strolled back to Duval, enjoying the random margarita and live entertainment. I should’ve been tired, but I wasn’t. Maybe my energy had something to do with how young and free I felt whenever we rode bikes. “I don’t want our night to end.”

“If you say so, but it’s at least three miles if not more.” He pedaled next to me, the intermittent street lights illuminating his doubtful expression.

I ignored his warning. “Let’s go. It’ll be fun.”

We raced, the flower-scented breeze tickling my face and arms and legs. This was paradise. I would never leave if it weren’t for our two kids back home. I missed them as much as I relished the time away with my man.

After a half-mile or so we settled in for the ride. The pavement whirred beneath our Cruisers’ tires, punctuated by the occasional car zooming past. The brightly lit stores gave way to lone streetlights. I let my mind go blank as we rolled along toward our goal.

Wisps of fog danced across our path. My leg muscles tired. The euphoria of flying through the night wore off, and I began to mull over the equally long trek back to the bed & breakfast. I glanced over at my honey. “Hey.”

He turned and smiled at me, a knowing look in his eyes.

I shrugged, unwilling to admit I’d been overzealous.

He slowed his bike. “Enough adventure for one night?”

“Yeah.”I slowed my bike and stopped with him at the next intersection. The east end of the island was still nowhere to be seen. “I thought it was closer.”

“Told you.”

Two cars flew by.

“I know.” I coasted across the street after him and stopped, facing west once more.

He peered at a dark lane perpendicular to the main road and half-joked. “Wanna see gulfside?”

I smiled and shook my head. “It’s getting late.” I slipped my cell phone out of my shorts pocket. “It’s almost two.” I covered a yawn. “Besides, look at all that fog. It’s coming in like waves. We’ll get lost.”

He whispered. “You can never get lost on an island.”

I laughed. That’s what he’d told me when we’d first moved to Long Island over two decades ago, convincing this country girl I’d acclimate to suburban life. I had. He had a way of making me feel safe, allowing me to take risks. Maybe that’s why I’d suggested traversing the island. He made me feel like I could do anything with him by my side. Even if it meant admitting I’d been wrong. Or I wanted to turn back. There was no shame. I had nothing to prove.

I slipped my phone back into my pocket and touched his arm. “I love you.”

“You better. You married me.”

We kissed, right there on the corner of Flagler and some desolate gulf side road outside Old Town, long past our usual bedtime. What were we thinking?

Have you ever done something completely out-of-character or completely spur-of-the-moment you wondered what made you do it?

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Maggie Van Well
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 08:02:28

    Hmmm, I honestly don’t think I have! Maybe I should start? That would totally shock my family.

    I don’t swear as a rule, although I have stubbed my toe on occasion. You have to swear then. Anyway, I was driving my BBF and my sister through Boston looking for our hotel. It was getting late and the directions I downloaded weren’t helping (This was before GPS) After the fifth time of passing our turn(If you’ve ever driven through Boston, you’d know this is NOT an uncommon thing for travelers), I shouted “Oh, for @#$% sake!” My friend and my sister both gasped in shock lol It was kinda funny.

    We never did find that hotel. We simply checked in to the first one we saw.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 09, 2013 @ 18:48:16

      Too funny, Maggie. I’m not much for swearing either, so I think it shocks people when I do. Great story! (Yes, I’ve driven in Boston, so I know what you mean.)

  2. Jill Weatherholt
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 10:07:23

    I was very shy in elementary school. As a six grader, three of my friends talked me into performing at the year end talent show. We dressed up like the rock group Kiss and performed, “I want to rock and roll all night.” I can still remember painting our faces in the bathroom. This was totally out of character for me, but it’s a great memory.

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 09, 2013 @ 18:54:16

      That’s so cute, Jill. You were brave to perform at the talent show. I remember doing stuff like that (as a teen) and how much effort it took to perform without freaking out. Good for you! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  3. Patricia Yager Delagrange
    Apr 09, 2013 @ 10:16:22

    When I first went skiing and my husband took me to a “medium” slope and I looked down and thought, “Now what?” I think I actually took the ski lift back down the hill!

    • Jolyse Barnett
      Apr 09, 2013 @ 18:56:32

      I’ve skied since I was little, so it’s hard to imagine your fear. Although I would say it had to be so scary to be a novice placed on an intermediate slope. I would never had wanted to be faced with an advanced trail on Whiteface Mountain. Eek! You were wise to take the ski lift down, if that’s what you ended up doing. Much safer. 🙂

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