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Snow Tires

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As we were driving down a salt-covered highway, a sharp curtain of white whipping past our car, you quickly slammed your high heel onto the brake of our Subaru. The wheels made a grating sound against the salt, the stones reduced to sand. I stared out the window, and found that the barrier was coming closer. I glimpsed the barest crack in the cement before the car whipped in the other direction. I remember thinking, completely calm, I think I’m supposed to be scared. My hand darted to the handle on the top of the window, gripping the beige plastic as if trying to mangle the hard handle into a distorted sculpture. I found the courage to glance at you, your hands white against the wheel, wrenching the black leather side to side like a kid playing Mario Cart. A conversation flashed into my mind, a relative commenting,

“You know, trying to correct your sliding will make your car flip,” and right on cue, my window leaned closer and closer to the ground. My brain was working quickly, hoping above all hopes that there wasn’t a car anywhere near ours. The wheels squealed and my fingers tightened around the handle, my head stoping inches away from the window.

The car stopped suddenly, and your breath was heavy and labored. My first thought as our wheels settled on the ground was, I have to write about this. Your hand clenched my thigh, highly varnished fingernails digging into the canvas of my white Tae Kwon Do pants. I think that’s when you started swearing. Truly, I wasn’t all that flustered. I actually felt kind of empty, disappointed maybe? Now don’t get me wrong, I loved the fact that we didn’t get in a horrendous car crash, but the story would have been so much better if we did... I digress.

“Mom. It’s okay. I promise,” then as a attempt to lighten the mood, I added, “I guess we need to get snow tires, huh?” you gave me no response. Honestly, I don’t remember half of what I said just to get you down the canyon, I just kept talking. I breathed a little easier as we exited the freeway and your hand finally relaxed from it’s painful vigil on my thigh. As we pulled into a parking spot in front of my studio you turned to me with a sad and slightly dejected look on your face.

“How you are not freaking out? I was supposed to be the one comforting you, not the other way around,” I shrugged, trying to come up with an okay answer.

“Ummm...” you smiled.

“Or are you going to just freak out later?” perfect. That sounded perfect. It didn’t seem entirely true, but it might be.

“Probably.” I said it with my hand on the door, and pulled it open as you spoke.

“Abi,” I stood up and turned my head.

“Yeah?”

“I think I’m going to go get some snow tires.” we smiled together, and I closed the door.



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