A little microfiction. More "What's in my Crochet Bag" next week.
"I love it," I whispered, running my hand along the line from trunk to roof to hood. It seemed wrong to speak out loud in its presence. The matte black of a lifetime of being only marginally cared for seemed like it would absorb the sound the way it absorbed the light anyway.
"I didn't know you were a car person," he muttered, sounding concerned. I'm not sure if it was because he clearly wasn't a car person, or if it was because he saw in my eyes more affection for the car than I had ever had for him.
"I'm not really. But this... I love this. What is it?"
"A Ford Galaxie 500. '64. It hasn't ran in two years, but it's finally up and going again." He paused, considering. "You wanna drive it?"
"Of course. Do you mind?" By this time, I had made it around to the front end of the car. Imagine a giant, like a "Jack and the Beanstalk" kind of giant. Now imagine that giant is an accomplished dancer with the Paris Ballet. Imagine him dressed all in black and standing in the wings, ready to take the stage. The car was a bohemouth, but obviously so full of grace and beauty. I wanted to rescue it. I wanted to give it the love and affection that it needed. New paint, spiff up that chrome, and of course, whatever was necessary under the hood.
"What's its name?" I always named my cars and this car was so obviously full of personality, it had to have a name. Something really exotic. Something fitting.
"Doesn't have a name. It's just a car, you know."
"How do you feel about Esmerelda?" I asked, circling. "Or Caramia?"
"I pretty much just call it the Ford. If you wanna name it, that's okay though."
I slid behind the wheel and looked across the vast expanse of leather bench seats. Such a pity about bench seats, there is really nothing finer. I barely spared a glance at my modern car as we slid out of the driveway. It's true, I realized, big cars really do drive like boats. The sun was still setting and we started out into the countryside driving into the red and orange, letting the tendrils of the dying day wrap around my hair as it streamed out the window. Bad Religion was on the radio and the pulse and the harmony pushed us down the road.
We were pulling into the field as the sun gave its last dying gasp. I did what I always did when we arrived, I rolled down all the windows, cranked the radio, killed the lights and slid out. There were seven of us there that night, and I was the only girl. Jeremy dragged the chairs out of his trunk and Evan pulled out a six pack. We settled in for the night, to laugh and joke and let the night air make us feel alive. We came out here because we always got loud, the stories building and building; the laughter escalating, until there was nothing left but the din of us.
The boys and me, I thought. Putting one foot on the rear bumper, I slid up onto a trunk that, were it a dining room table, would have seated 12. Kevin started telling us about his day at work and I lay back against the rear windshield to watch the stars come out. The glass was cold against my shoulders and the small of my back where my tank top didn't completely cover the skin.The car seemed to hum beneath me, alive and comforting. The metal still hot from the Midwestern sun and the glass still cold from the drive, it seemed like everything solid and important was wrapped up in the Detroit steel, leather and rubber beneath me.
I laughed along that night. I laughed until the tears streamed down my cheeks. I watched the stars blink into existence and then begin sliding across the sky. I enjoyed that night to the hilt, mostly because I knew deep down that it would be my last.
When the dew started to appear and the night was a blanket around us, protecting us from each other, we packed up and headed back into town, where the lights drowned out the stars and hum of town hushed our voices more than the silence of the country ever could.
Putting the car back in the garage, I knew that she and I were sisters. Both feeling neglected and lonely, even when surrounded. I couldn’t keep doing what I was doing, hoping for better, when I could see her, suffering the same that I was hurtling toward.
“Goodnight, Caramia,” I whispered, shutting the driver’s door behind me. “I’d save you if I could.”