Delanie stifled a scream and resisted the urge to hold Joe tighter as the motorcycle swiftly ascended the narrow curving road into the jungle. She trusted his skills, but this island terrain was new to him, new to both of them. Meeting a tour bus head on had sent them dangerously close to the edge along a channel carved out to drain the tropical summer rains. She wished they had rented a car. But soon the banana trees and giant ferns had her attention and she began to relax and enjoy the ride. They were nearing the coast now, and the brightly colored houses dotting the hillsides were like scattered crayons—a sight she thought must be unique to tropical islands. Now they began the descent to the ocean and she again felt her body tense as the unfamiliar terrain came swiftly at them. She felt Joe’s body shift a little and wondered if he was a little apprehensive, too. She was sure she heard a sigh of relief as they pulled into the parking lot. They looked at each other as they removed their helmets, but neither admitted to any concerns.
“Spectacular, huh?” Joe asked.
“Awesome,” she responded as she removed the pink bandana do-rag from her head.
Joe took her hand and they walked through a bamboo gate onto the beach. Her long red hair blew across her face with the gentle ocean breeze on this side of the island. She wouldn’t think about the return trip. She wouldn’t.
The afternoon spent wandering the shoreline and sipping the local beer almost did take her mind off leaving. But the time came, and she tied her hair back and slipped on her helmet. “Joe,” she begged, “please be careful. It’s dangerous.”
“Just enjoy the ride,” he answered.
They started up into the mountainous terrain again with Joe increasing the bike’s speed after a few minutes. Delanie realized with surprise that she was enjoying the ride this time and was thrilled with every curve they flew around. They had almost reached the top when they rounded a curve and saw a supply truck stopped on the road. Another vehicle was behind it with its emergency lights flashing. The driver and two men from the second vehicle were looking over the edge. Delanie and Joe pulled over and stopped in front of the other vehicles. They took off their helmets as they ran to see what the others were looking at. Lying some distance down the rugged slope was a motorcycle with a young man lying pinned beneath it, and further down, a girl, her long dark hair fanned out and the ends lifted by a slight breeze, her eyes staring toward the ocean.
Delanie and Joe looked at each other.
Joe said, “It’s like an omen.”
“Don’t be silly,” Delanie replied.
When they were forced to leave by the local policia, Joe drove slowly, carefully. He slowed down when approaching curves, and almost stopped when a tour bus loomed into sight.
Delanie found herself becoming irritated and missing the excitement. She tapped the middle of his back with her fist and said, “Step on it, Joe. What’s wrong with you?” And the tears flew behind her as he picked up speed.