Thought Of You Today

May 16, 2011
By kholden14 BRONZE, Rochester, Massachusetts
kholden14 BRONZE, Rochester, Massachusetts
1 article 2 photos 1 comment

The breeze lifted the smell of cut grass into the air. The afternoon heat was everywhere. I’d feel the invisible waves growing stronger as I approached the machine. Steam glided off the sharp edges. When summer came we worked tirelessly together; wash and wax, no shine compared. Hours passed; I could hear the engine rev with sweet pride as the light left the sky. The pavement brightened as our garage light clicked on; we’d keep working.
I could never forget the sounds; the clink of two half-empty Dr Peppers, your occasional chuckle. We’d face forward motionless, unable to look away from our silent champion. We don't run it yet, not yet. But I could already hear the squealing tires; the roaring V8. Out of the corner of my eye you’re grinning. I learned it all from you.

Rolling out the heavy beast I knew summer had come again. The smells return; cut grass; wet asphalt. I still feel the smooth heat of the hood. No key has been turned but the engine is already echoing in my head. I hear a faint chuckle as I stand there, arms crossed. I can even hear my endless questions as we both stare intently under the hood. I'm twelve again and you're right by my side. Tasting the Dr Pepper I grab your tools and slide underneath the neglected masterpiece.
Later on I open the driver's side and take my seat; all the while examining its condition. That familiar smell of the interior hits me hard. I smiled, remembering how I’d missed it. Closing my eyes the smell remains sharp, maybe a little less musty but I can picture a very clean dash now. I want to turn with guilt to look at you when I see the dust that has gathered; I remain still. Balancing a Red Bull on my knee with one hand, my other wraps tightly around the leather wheel. That's when I start to hear it.
It doesn't take long before it's everywhere. Creeping into the air and wrapping its bony fingers around my throat. Very subtly the breeze halts and my hands clench. My breath catches as familiarity disperses into darkness. Your crippling laughter from yesterday dies off leaving no trace behind. The sound of the engine vanishes. All the magic from another time is gone; the beast turns to stone. My eyes close again as I smile bleakly; it came so quickly. Silence.
I sit very still, unwilling to let it take me, although I know it will. Every year the memories fade a little bit more. I barely notice. It's clever like that; taking all I have left of you at night while I sleep. It has come again to remind me that nothing is the same. Though it had all seemed so familiar; the silence would convince me that everything has changed. My eyes pinch as the darkness flashes pictures of you abruptly, tormenting me; willing me to try to remember. Daring me to.
I humor the trap as my fingers trace the steering wheel and I run my hand along the dashboard. “Why is it wooden?” I hear my voice young and sharp. Your chuckle returns easily. I follow it. I follow it because it is all I have left. The silence has taken everything from me. My foot presses down curiously on the accelerator. The engine roars quietly with an assuring presence.
My short legs barely reach the gas. “Careful now, don't want to take off yet.” You're a lot taller than me, arms crossed, supervising my curious desire. I want to turn and look at you so badly; I can feel you smiling at me. Nothing is distant as I sit here; it's all the same. The silence would soon remind me of one key difference.
You know that feeling you get when you're coming out of a dream; you're seconds from opening your eyes but you're still stuck in a numb, peaceful place. I'm leaving that place soon; I can feel it. “It's getting late, you think we should go in for dinner?” I shake my head violently and grip the wheel tighter still. The garage light flickers on. “Here,” Still looking forward I can see you offer me my Dr Pepper. Without looking at you, I take it.
My eyes are still closed as I press my head stubbornly into the head rest; as if pressure alone would keep the memories in. Grasping my drink I can feel you walking away. My heart starts to pound, the engine's voice deepens and becomes more aggressive. I'm sitting in your pristine vehicle and it's ready to run. It's ready to fly. You're still walking though. What are you thinking? You can't leave me here alone. Gritting my teeth I give up my restraint, I panic and whip my head towards you. Your back is to me, tall and strong you're almost at the garage now. “Dad, where are you going?”
Just as you approach the pool of light the garage has cast upon the pavement you turn to me. I see your hair, I see your nose, your broad smile, that mischievous look in your eyes. I remember you. Facing me with a calm expression you speak “I'm just getting us some food, keep an eye on that for me will ya?”
Then you turn and stroll inside. And in the silence of then and now I hear you chuckle.

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