Random Inspirations

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Rum-spring-a Break Part 3

on October 4, 2012

Happy Thursday, all! And just in time for the (almost) weekend, here is the next segment of Rum-spring-a Break. You’ve had two sneak peeks to set the stage–in Part 3, a little wildness just might be in store!

I grin broadly. “Should we do something crazy?”

“It’s Thursday,” Jakob reminds me. “I have to work early tomorrow, and so do you.” Like the rest of our community, Jakob and I finished school when we were fourteen, and now we have jobs. He works in a garage, repairing cars, which he adores. I work with Mercy in a bakery, which I don’t adore.

“Let’s plan something for tomorrow, though,” Jakob says, draping his arm around my shoulder. “We’ll go cruising. I’ll swing by and pick you and Mercy up.” Jakob and his friends go cruising every weekend in his old Ford pickup. He saved up for years to buy it, but his parents won’t let him park it at home; he has to leave it at work when he’s not driving it.

“I can’t wait,” I say, smiling as I extricate myself from his arm. I’ve known Jakob since birth, and he’s like a brother to me. It feels weird to have him in my personal space. “Well, good night.”

“Good night, simmie,” Jakob says, referring to the Amish nickname for newcomers to rumspringa. His teasing tone belies the flash of hurt in his crystalline blue eyes. I ignore it and dash toward home. I really need to sleep a bit; something tells me tomorrow will be an exciting day.

***

“Woooohoo!” Mercy screams, sticking her head out Jakob’s truck window like a dog. Jakob’s friend Abram gives Mercy a playful slap on the back and cranks up some hip-hop music on Jakob’s souped-up radio.

I sit back in my seat, the bass from the speakers shaking my insides. I am in a state of sensory overload. My birthday celebration has been a marathon, starting with my father painting our picket fence blue, essentially proclaiming to the Amish boys, “Come and get ‘em! Girls of marriageable age live here!” At our birthday party, Mercy and I acquired English clothes from our good friend Hannah, and now we’re wearing them. I’m a little self-conscious about the way my new skimpy, brightly colored sundress clings to my body and shows my arms and legs. On the upside, the night breeze feels deliciously decadent as it caresses my skin.

I close my eyes and let my loose hair blow free in the wind. My wavy, chestnut-brown hair is as straight and shiny as an English model’s, thanks to the borrowed flat iron. My eyelashes look about twice their usual length and thickness, and my glossy lips shimmer, thanks to the borrowed make-up. I feel like everything in my life is borrowed right now, even my time; I’m not used to having free time at night. Normally, I’d be asleep, since, even on Saturdays, my chores start early. During rumspringa, however, my parents are a little more lax with their demands. Thank goodness my younger siblings will pick up the slack.

Jakob, Abram, Mercy, and I arrive in Pittsburgh after an hour drive. I’ve never seen the city before, and the twinkling lights dazzle me as they glint off the three rivers. We pass over a bridge, and enter a more crowded section of town. English kids seem to frolic in the streets, calling loudly back and forth to each other. Jakob somehow maneuvers his big, clumsy truck into a tiny spot near a ramshackle-looking apartment building. The people inside are blasting music so loudly that Jakob’s stereo sounds like a whispering wind in comparison.

“Where are we going?” I ask the boys. Mercy hops out of the truck, smoothing her short skirt and eyeing some particularly cute English guys heading into the apartment.

“To a college party,” Jakob replies. He actually looks somewhat English in his tee shirt and jeans, although his Amish-style bowl cut and light beard give him away. Even without his hat, his hair is totally flattened, in contrast to the spiky, slick, or just plain voluminous locks of the English boys.

“The Pitt students have great parties,” Abram says, ogling three girls sporting tiny shorts and pink and purple streaks in their glowingly unnatural blonde hair. “They don’t mind if we crash their parties, as long as we bring something.” Abram grabs two six-packs of beer from the back of the truck–he’s the only one of us over twenty-one–and we head in the direction of the noise.

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