The first day of college, and Sally is ready. New notebook? Check. New backpack? Check. Cool shirt? Check. New pair of ripped jeans? Check. Even her class schedule is perfect. Her last class ends early enough to get to the hotel in plenty of time for her shift as a desk clerk. Walking to her car later that day after school, she notices her new boyfriend, Jessie, parked next to her. He’s okay, a little strange, but that’s to be expected with a musician. They met last month when his band played a gig at the hotel bar. They flirted and argued about music. He thinks the Eagles are the greatest band on the planet. She’s a Led Zeppelin fan. They’ve been dating ever since. Jessie rolls down the window of his vintage Gran Torino and rests his elbow on the door. “Hey, babe,” he says. “How were your classes today?” She shifts her backpack on her shoulder and says, “Great. How’s your day?” He runs his hand through his shaggy black hair streaked with purple. “I’ve got a cold,” Jessie says, wiping his nose on the cuff of his sleeve. “I’m sorry,” Sally says. “Wish I could talk, but I need to get to work.” She pulls her keys from her pocket and unlocks her car. “Okay, babe,” he says. “Give me a kiss.” She thinks he’s teasing and laughs. He’s not amused. “Hey, with my old girlfriend we passed a cold between us all winter one year,” he says. “That’s how much we loved each other.” Sally tosses her backpack in the passenger seat, gets in, and starts the car. “That’s the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard,” she says, as she shifts her car into reverse and backs out. She’ll admit Desperado was a classic. No denying that. But Led Zeppelin could sing a grocery list, and she’d love it. How many bands can you say that about? Besides, Jessie’s kisses were never that great anyway.
Laura Stamps is the author of several novels, short story collections, and poetry books, including IT’S ALL ABOUT THE RIDE: CAT MANIA (Alien Buddha Press) and THE YEAR OF THE CAT (Artemesia Publishing). Muses Prize. Pulitzer Prize nomination. 7 Pushcart Prize nominations. Mom of 5 cats. Twitter: @LauraStamps16. Website: www.laurastampspoetry.blogspot.com