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Cody Lee Heyveld
I grab my keys and I’m out the door. It’s 2 a.m., the darkest that dark can be with a glimpse of moonlight—reminding me of a Toploader song from A Walk to Remember. Ironically, it reminded me of the reason I would be taking this late night drive on a school night. I wiggle my key into the door of my black Ford Taurus, nearly invisible in the obscurity. After a few jerks and attempts to unlock my ghetto door, I finally get it right, key now awaiting the ignition. A seat never felt this comfortable, a few deep breaths with my legs sprawled out the cracked door. I feel power; this drive would give me full control. Finally, the only person who can take advantage of my damaged heart is I. At this point, that’s exactly what needs to happen. I need to take control. The key in my right hand magnetizes to the ignition as my left hand twists the dial to make the outside world visible. The engine begins to hum, the lights on the dashboard brighten my misty eyes and the throttle prepares itself for the 6-cylinder engine that’s about to make my night.
Adrenaline is created when three different substances, containing catecholamines, combine. They are released at nerve terminals and could later fuse with blood, carrying “the rush” throughout the body. This release is caused by stressful stimuli, allowing the body to protect itself by going into something named fight or flight. Heart rate and force increase, blood pressure rises and blood flow rushes to the skeletal and cardiac muscles. Every ounce of the body feels like a rollercoaster at Disney World, a bungee jump off of the Bloukrans River Bridge or a swim with the sharks in the Pacific Ocean. That rush is a million
times stronger than liquid courage, and the actions made are internally less placid than any moment thinkable. Adrenaline is the best high imaginable.
“Cody, are you sure about this,” my best friend Amanda said. I nodded my 17-year-old head, uncertain if I really meant it. Here I was going to meet a guy, seven years older than me. He lived in New York and wanted every part of me; I… had yet to be certain. He might get off the plane and kidnap me. Take me hostage. Rape me. It really wasn’t anything to joke about. But here I was, taking a crazy chance. Amanda continued to talk to me, attempting to ease my awkward stature, flush cheeks and fiery ears. All I could think about was Tyler. What will he be like in person? Will he really look like he does on Skype? Should I hug him… hold his hand? How awkward will Amanda feel on the ride home? Bless her heart for even driving me to St. Louis to pick this unknown onlineboyfriend of mine up at the Lambert Airport. After the intense hour of trying to find Tyler’s gate at Lambert, I saw his cute brown Kenneth Cole ascot hat. Amanda noticed, pushed me, and with a bright smile on my face, I gave him that hug I’d been questioning for over an hour. Tyler took the decency to make conversation with my best friend and me as we walked back to Amanda’s car. We got to the vehicle and Amanda tilted her head at me to sit with my mysterious boyfriend. I winked with excitement and a parallel smile, leaving Amanda sitting next to Casper the friendly ghost in passenger seat. The entire car ride back to my house was unimaginable. It could never be repeated or replaced. My heart was beating like the bass drum I played the year prior in high school. The sensation of his hand resting on my thigh, he made it seem so pure. Everything around me
seemed to be in slow motion, even with Amanda driving 80 in a 60. I felt every second. All I wanted to do was kiss him. I felt ridiculous… nervous… a little on top of the world. I think it was all of the above. The intense excitement turned into a relationship that lasted more than three and a half years. The rush turned to dust when I found out it had all been a lie. He cheated on me with more than seven different people. He started becoming emotionally and physically abusive. Alcohol got the best of him, and I had to be the one to clean up the undesirable mess.
After all, adrenaline doesn’t last forever. As the body deals with a physically demanding situation, the body begins to return to its normal state. The body knows the threat is being resolved. Driving usually helps me resolve that feeling. The Thrust SCC is the fastest car in the world; with help of a jet-powered system, it can reach almost 800 miles per hour. Even though this car goes nowhere as fast as that, the v6 engine makes me feel like I’m breaking records and taking names. Many worldwide racing competitions used v6 engines up until the 90s because of its similar comparison to the v8 and using less fuel consumption. How could one possibly complain about that? The remarkable speed and drivability of my black 2001-made vehicle makes me realize how great simple things can be. I got lucky and took over the $800 my step-sister had left to pay on the vehicle all because she didn’t want the responsibility. Silly of her, I thought. Then, you learn that owning a vehicle takes more maintenance, time and effort than originally expected. Something I wish I would have learned before Christopher.
Junior year of high school, on the verge of 17, I was still figuring out what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. I had no job… no car… no one to love me like I wanted to be loved. When someone dumps you, how do you take it? When someone grows and comes to a self-realization because of the joy you brought them, why would they leave you in the dirt? Leave you wondering why their Facebook relationship status is more important than your own heart? Sometimes, I think about the guy after the one who did leave me in the dirt. He really wasn’t much different… but he definitely knew how to drive a car. “Christopher Wayne,” he liked to call himself. It was a knock-off version (I mean, it still is) of Bruce Wayne. His obsession with Batman made up his life. I thought I was bad, owning more like 200 of the action figures. I thought I found a match after Dakota; I thought Mr. Wayne could make the pain go away. For being together only a few months, we were pretty solid together. Wish the three-hour distance wouldn’t have gotten in the way. Time with Chris went by too fast. He would visit me as I was still stuck driving my mom’s minivan or stepfather’s huge-ass hunter green Chevy Silverado. If you knew me well enough, you’d know I would rather look like a soccer dad than a tiny twink getting out of a huge, redneck hunter green pick-up truck. I don’t like feeling so high up, anyhow. Oddly enough, “Come On, Get Higher,” was our song. Every lyric made me feel like Chris was right by my side. His clever smiley faces and “I miss you so hard” comments just weren’t enough sometimes, to be honest. I wanted something more; so I chose this song: So come on, get higher, loosen my lips, Faith and desire and the swing of your hips Just pull me down hard and drown me in love
It couldn’t sum up our relationship more. There was so much passion in such a short period of time. I think it was mainly because he taught me things I wouldn’t let any other guy. He showered me with respect. He displayed to me how to physically treat the body, how to care for boundaries and how to feel close. His example made me realize how special “it” is. Let’s be honest, I was a little scared. Sex is similar to that feeling you get when taking your driving test. If you were like me, you stumbled over the windshield wiper, reaching for the clutch instead. “Oops,” I said. “Take a deep breath and know everything will be alright. Stay in focus naturally, and everything will be A-OK!” the driving instructor said. After reassurance, a deep breath and putting the car into drive, the feeling is amazing. It comes naturally. That’s how Chris made me feel. We broke up before he ever took my virginity. However, he wanted to continue talking to me on the phone. Eventually, he let me know the pressure of trying to be there for me, when he physically couldn’t, was way too much for him to handle. I only wanted a commitment. I wanted the late night, radio-screaming car rides to never end. I saw him being that drive I would never get sick of. For my birthday, he couldn’t be there. But, he understood my Britney Spears obsession, similar to his obsession with the middle name his mother gave him. When it came out two weeks after my birthday, he sent me Britney’s new 15-track Circus album, the deluxe edition with the “Womanizer” music video. Beyond the album was a t-shirt and better yet—a letter that made my 17th birthday the best one yet (shortened due to length): My dearest Cody (Coco),
… I gave you your favorite t-shirt so you can think of me when I’m not there. I miss you so hard; I miss your face and cannot wait to see you again. Know that whatever happens, I love you Cody. I know you deserve the best, but I hope someday we can be together… Love, Your Batman His attractive handwriting got me every time. It’s so beautiful I’d frame it, but that might be a little awkward. He mastered my emotions when he came to visit the following week. My parents were out of town, and it was just us. He told me how bad he felt about taking such a responsibility, but I told him I want him to be “my first.” It was amazing, and he couldn’t stop talking about it. He eventually had to leave, a moment I forgot because it is too difficult for me to remember. After that, it was me in the driver’s seat… sitting next to Casper.
As the Earth turns, the stars come back to the same place in the night sky every 23 hours, 56 minutes and 4.09 seconds. At this time, the two consecutive transits of the first point of Aries are shown. This is called a sidereal day. Driving on an open highway at 2 a.m. brings me nature the daylight cannot. The sky captures my undivided attention, literally brightening my night in a way headlights don’t give justice to.
It was an articulate, semi-cold misty night. It was that time of year when you can’t remember if it’s spring or winter. You can see your breath, but it feels and looks like the humidity of spring.
I sat in my stepfather’s truck, shivering. My 16-year-old voice called Dakota’s cell phone as I dimmed my headlights and parked the truck in his driveway. “I’m here, babe,” I said. “OK… just give me a moment. I need to make sure they’re asleep,” he responded. Not soon enough, I saw him climbing out of his tiny bedroom window. He risked his phone, his dinner, his place to stay and even some of his friendships to be with me. You should hear about the things his mother would have done if she found out. I wasn’t high maintenance or anything; his family just hated him being gay. But, he risked it all for me. I snuck him out almost every weekend, or at least saw him. But, what I primarily remember are our star-lit nights together. Dakota got into the truck, and I drove a mile down the gravel road to a pasture that no one ever cared for. It was a cliché moment you’d see in a movie. A Walk to Remember comes to mind again. We cuddled in the truck, talking about everything. We talked about movies, music, school, friends and even men. We’d go over which celebrity man was the hottest, which one would be our exceptional sex object. We laughed so much. I’d lie on top of him; we fell asleep and woke up every now and then. Whereas that would normally be annoying, it really wasn’t. It was cute. The half-smile his face created made it all worth it. The way he looked at me when I wouldn’t let him “have it all” made it worth it. “I don’t want to have sex until I’m ready,” I said, completely scared of how he’d respond and unsure if he had ever experienced such intimacy himself “No, it’s completely fine. Why would I take something like that from you when you’re not ready? What kind of person would I be?” he stated, rather than asked.
We returned to our PG-13-rated ways, adrenaline still pulsing through our veins. Not only did adrenaline remain effective, but the perfect full moon poured on our shirtless bodies. The sky could have been cuddled in clouds, leaving no moon to shine. The moon could have chosen anything else in the world to reach, but it chose us.
The 4.5 billion-year-old moon makes orbit around the earth, leaving the world to wait nearly 27 days for a new moon. The moon has no atmosphere, no wind and no rain. However, the moon does have water, which was discovered a year after Dakota walked out of my life. Scientists say the footprints left on the moon by Apollo astronauts will remain visible for at least 10 million years. I think Dakota has them beat. His footprints will remain on my heart forever.
My friends set me and Dakota up almost half a year after we first met. After a brutal incident with his mother, he told me it wasn’t the right time. I thought maybe this time would be different. It was him and I alone in a car as our friends picked up food and drinks for our weekendlong party session. He apologized to me—in person this time, years after writing me a pathetic break-up letter. He proved his sincerity by fogging up the window with his breath, writing “Dakody” on the window. You could only imagine the smile on my face. I wanted to kiss him right there.
It was with him, at a friend’s house, on the friend’s couch. So many of our friends were there. We lay across the couch, avoiding the horrible B-rated scary movie by staring at each other. We were reunited. He asked me to be his. Dakota’s crystal blue eyes reflected the horror
movie. I felt so lucky to be staring at such an amazing color. A color of eye that made me falsely believe great things come to those eyes naturally. They seemed so perfect. How could I say no? He gave 50 percent. Originally lying in his lap, I leaned up to complete the other 50. I felt goose bumps, chills as cold as the pane of a vehicle’s window on a 40 degree night. The sound of the movie became slower; Megan Fox’s voice became irrelevant. I felt him close his eyes, and I respectively cracked mine open for a split second just to make sure. As Dakota kissed me, I grabbed a blanket to hide the world. I wanted to block everyone out, letting me share this moment with him. Just him. Although I make it seem like the kiss went on for centuries, it was no make out session. It was a true, passionate first kiss. And, being the self-conscious freak I am, I took him to the outside patio just to make sure I didn’t suck. “Dakota… I was wondering…” I nervously sputtered out. He closed my unfinished sentence with his hand on my jawline, pulling his lips closer to mine. The new moon kissed his face as I kissed his lips. We stopped for a moment, and just as I was preparing to question him again, he interrupted. “Cody… you’re great.”
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