Donna - A Short Story
Under the deserted streetlight, dark rivulets of rain cascaded down the windshield, casting shadows on her face that looked like streamers of tears. Maybe they were. He could not be certain, but he also did not care.
Over the static on the radio, Elvis lamented on whether his unknown love missed him tonight. It was still on the charts a year later, and she turned it up as he knew she would. At least it wasn’t ‘Will you still love me tomorrow?’. He despised that song for what it represented to him…manipulation. His unspoken retort was: “Hell, I don’t love you now!”
Lightning flashed silently on the horizon, and the dim streetlight flickered briefly. She lit a cigarette, and handed it to him, lighting another for herself. She dabbed at her eyes dramatically and turned to him, her pretty face almost beautiful in the dim light.
“Why do you treat me like this? Haven’t I been good to you? Haven’t I given myself to you, time and again? Haven’t I done whatever you wanted?”
“Here we go again,” he thought. “Turn on the guilt and ignore the facts!” He chose his words carefully. “It’s not you Donna, or anything you did. It’s me, and I can't be falling in love with a married woman!”
It was a small town, and he had known her for years, but she was just another married woman until two months ago. His cousin Frank had picked up Judy, Donna’s younger sister, at the local café and then they all got in Donna’s car. They parked in the schoolyard parking lot, down by the playground. It was deserted on a Saturday afternoon, and Donna had a case of beer. After half an hour, Frank and Judy were fogging up the windows. After glancing back at all the kissing going on in the back seat, an amused Donna looked at him with a pretty smile. “That looks like fun!”
He grinned back at her and unthinkingly blurted out a response.
“It sure does. Want to try it?”
Seconds later, she was in his arms, her lips urgent and seeking. He threw his usual caution out the window, along with his empty beer can, and his fate was almost sealed. After a few heated moments of frantic kissing, his hand found its way to her ample breast, and she pushed it quickly away.
He pulled away from her, strangely relieved.
“I’m sorry, Donna. For a moment, I forgot that you were a married woman.”
He opened the door and stepped out, closing it behind him. He leaned on the door sill and peered back into the car. In the backseat, Frank and Judy were still pawing at one another, oblivious to the world. He looked at Donna and stammered out an excuse. “I’ll go home now, and I hope you're not mad at me for…well, touching you. I apologize.”
He thought that would be the end of it, until two weeks later. As he walked down a side street, she pulled up beside him and spoke through the open passenger window.
“We need to talk about us.”
“There is no ‘us’ Donna, and I apologized for touching you.”
“That’s what we need to talk about. I’m sorry I pushed you away, but it was only because my sister was in the car. You can do anything you want.”
Sighing, he stepped to the car, and once again, leaned on the door sill, peering in. She was wearing a thin summer dress, and it displayed her curves beautifully. She saw him looking at her, and a faint smile crossed her lips.
“I’m not wearing anything under my dress. I did it just for you. Please get in and we’ll go for a ride. You won’t regret it.”
“Oh yes I will,” he thought as he opened the door, “I’ll probably regret it for the rest of my life.”
After that, he avoided her for a few days, and then his hormones started looking for her again. Each time, he was careful not to let anyone see them together. He was ashamed of himself and desperately did not want to be seen with her. It simply was not done.
Donna, on the other hand, seemed oblivious to the dangers and scandal of their affair. It was almost as if she wanted to be caught and exposed. Almost all of their trysts had occurred in broad daylight. Tonight was an exception. Her husband was out of town.
He was caught in a trap, and he was the trapper. His urges had condemned him to meeting Donna again and again, but this was to be the last time. He had lost weight, and people had remarked that he looked pale and not his usual good color. He must cut it off, and ignore his own urges as well as her threats and pleadings.
Once she had threatened to expose the entire affair when he refused to get in the car. When that didn’t work, she tried tears and wailing. Finally, she threatened to harm herself, and he relented. Now he was determined to end it, no matter what she said or threatened to do.
The rain continued to tap on the roof of her nineteen fifty-five Pontiac as they sat under the dim light of the streetlamp. On the radio, Roy Orbison was running scared, between lightning flashes and heavy static. Donna looked all around at the deserted street, and then placed her hand lightly on his leg. She leaned toward him, and he noticed that she had undone the top two buttons on her blouse. She had given up on guilt and was back to seducing. He sighed and nodded his head.
“One more time, Donna, and then it will have to be over.” She smiled knowingly, sat back up, and started the car.
The gravel road led to the bridge over Whitmore creek, where a farmer’s road passed under the bridge alongside the creek. They had used it many times, and only once had anyone passed over the bridge while they were under it. It used to be the main route to Mayfair, but it was almost abandoned now. It was perfect, because once under the bridge, they were almost invisible.
Donna Braden shut off her car and got in the back seat with Jimmy Devlin. The rain was now coming down hard and in sheets, pouring over both sides of the bridge. She kissed him passionately as his hands flew over her body. “I love you so much, Jimmy,’ she breathed into his ear.
He sat up abruptly. “What’s that?”
She put her arm around his neck and pulled him down to her lips. “It’s just a truck, silly. Don’t be so nervous.”
He pushed her away, alarmed. “That’s no tru…”
The wall of water in the creek bed slammed into the back of the Pontiac, lifting it up on its nose, where the rear bumper hit the bridge’s underpinnings. Jimmy’s head slammed into Donna’s violently and they both lost consciousness instantly. Jimmy flew out the window into the flood as the Pontiac flipped over, crushing the top and sealing Donna inside.
The Pontiac was found the next day in the still swollen but receding waters behind a barn. Donna’s body was discovered inside, and it was surmised that her car had been washed off the destroyed bridge. No other body was found nor sought. She was assumed to be alone.
“I reckon she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” the farmer remarked to the deputy. “Can’t figure out why she didn’t just use the paved bypass, though.” He grinned at his wife. “Women drivers!”
Two days later, the same deputy took the missing person’s report at the Devlin’s kitchen table. When the date of disappearance was mentioned, the deputy glanced up and then checked another report. “That’s the same day that Mrs. Braden disappeared. Did Jimmy know her? Could he have been with her?”
Mrs. Devlin shook her head. “Sure Jimmy knew her, but he would not have been with Mrs. Braden, for heaven’s sakes. After all, she’s his teacher and he’s only fourteen.”
Parts of this story are true. The names, of course, have been changed.