Straw hat resting on the dashboard of a car rolling on a road, sunny day blue skies.
©Photo by AJVallee

I finally spotted it amongst the other cars.
There it was, standing still, as reassuring as a familiar face in an overwhelming crowd.
The state of it though.
The matte finish of its fading paint made it easily recognisable.
A tarnished spoon misplaced in a polished silverware set.

I had grown accustomed to it, hanging by the thread of its decades of good service.
I sat in the truck and waited for a reason to leave.
I would turn the key in, hear the usual clinging of its aging parts : the loose mufler, the hissing sound of the ineffective fan, the sticky break pads, the over-tainted back window that provided all the blind spots necessary to perform an unsafe reverse manœuvre at night.

The floor was despicable. He would have disagreed. How could I be so careless, letting shit settle comfortably, matting on the carpet and the rubber mats.
I didn’t mind it.
Observing its messy evolution fascinated me.
A mad scientist studying a world of dust.

I had never owned a car.
He had offered to give it to me instead of taking it to the junkyard.
Second best to the junkyard.
I knew I should have refused the gift.
His freebies always had a cost.
But the car was the last remnants of him.
The testament of a lifetime of arguments, of pulling in and of shoving out.
A reminder of the mechanical tetter of my breaking free from his grasp.

There I was, immobile, suffocating in the cabin of my second-hand paradise, my mind surfing the ocean of vehicules properly lined up next to each other.
I could feel the disapproving gazes from other drivers wondering what the fuck I was waiting for.
« Move, lady! Someone else wants your damn spot! ».
I tried to lower the seat to rest for a second but as I reached for the knob I remembered it had broken off of for no apparent reason the previous week.

The window painfully rolled down with the most tired electric whinning sound.
The gust of a cool early morning wind rushed in through the gap the window allowed.
I gently adjusted the rearview mirror.
What a pointless gesture.
Why would it have shifted angle on its own in the past two hours?
As I let go of the mirror it stayed in my hand.
It had been adorned with the same tringlets for years : a clear blue peace sign that once smelled like something, a protection medal of a forgotten saint and a proverb.
« Wherever you go, go with all your heart. »

I let the mirror slide off my hands unto the passenger seat.
I pulled out of the parking space in a cloud of exhaust gas.
I drove straight to the junkyard and took a cab home.

Stop. Look & Listen. That’s Life happening. Sometimes en Français et parfois in English. www.ajvallee.ca

Stop. Look & Listen. That’s Life happening. Sometimes en Français et parfois in English. www.ajvallee.ca