You can’t go anywhere in a Candy Apple Red, 1984 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme without being noticed. When the occupants of that classic car are two rather attractive ladies, the glances in our direction usually became more focused.
Wednesday was Account Mangers meeting day. Since we never knew how long the meeting would last, we always planned for a light day and I could usually get out of the office early. Riley’s classes ended at three in the afternoon and I would pick her up on Wednesday afternoons and we would drive home together. Since Wednesday was the only day I could be sure that I’d be free in the evenings, Wednesday was also Sister’s Night.
I was the oldest of four girls. The next oldest, Adele, was married and the other sister, Andrea, was away at college. Riley was the youngest and she and I shared the house in Fort Lauderdale that Grandma Rafferty used to own. Sister’s Night usually meant Riley and me. Adele would join us once a month, more or less, and Andrea would be there also when she was home from school in Tallassee.
The four of us were close, even in appearance. Adele was the tallest at five-nine. I came in at five-eight and both Andrea and Riley topped out at a little over five-seven. We all had great metabolisms and never had to diet and there were always enough boys hanging around to convince us that we were attractive. We all had auburn hair, that titled more toward the red than brown and we all had the same green eyes. Riley and I had always been the closest, but after Daddy and Mommy had moved back to Ohio, we became even closer.
A couple of months ago, two things happened that would change the course of my life. Riley was also affected by these events almost as much as I was. First, I was no longer engaged to be married. Right after that, a new housing development started going up on the route Riley and I took home on Wednesdays. The sign out front indicated Ocean Breeze Development was going to build upper middle class homes on this site.
Two completely unrelated events, but even if you factor in the hand fate can play in your life, it’s still difficult to believe how these two separate things could have such an impact on our future.
Each Wednesday as Riley and I passed by, we could see the development start to take shape. It was just some heavy machines, at first, grading the property. Every week there seemed to be more and more construction workers on the project. When they started the actual construction of the homes, there were, even more, workers there.
When the construction workers realized that we passed by every Wednesday at about the same time, a number of them started lining up in front of the development waiting for us. We’d get cat calls and whistles and big smiles from all the guys, but they never were vulgar. Construction workers, at least, the younger ones, had great bodies and working in South Florida meant they usually wore shorts and tight tee shirts or no shirts at all.
I could have easily found a different route home from campus, but Riley enjoyed the attention and I must admit, I did too. I never stopped, but I usually cruised by slowly so we could get a good look at the guys. Riley and I would compare notes over dinner. When Adele joined us, we filled her in on the day’s adventure. When Andrea was home from school, she’d meet me at the office and join Riley and me on our weekly pilgrimage. It was harmless and it was fun.
Passing that construction site on one particular rainy Wednesday afternoon is how it all started. I’m sure a good fiction writer could have written a more bizarre story, but life is stranger than fiction and both my life and Riley’s were definitely different after that day.
Riley changed from a frivolous teenager to a woman with purpose. And I learned some very valuable lessons. Things like openness and honesty and loyalty. Not only loyalty to a man, or a relationship, but devotion to a purpose, to an ideal. I grew up even more than Riley did, and my life was never the same.
Click Follow to receive emails when this author adds content on Bublish