Dents and Kisses This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     I had just gotten my license, and I felt on top of the world as I cruised downtown in my mom’s silver Ford Taurus. Every time I grabbed the keys I heard the same warning from one (if not both) of my parents: “Be careful. If you wreck it, you won’t be driving for another year, and you’ll have to pay for it.” Yeah, yeah ... I know. And besides, I really wasn’t reckless, so they had nothing to worry about ... or so I thought.

Anyway, the sun was shining this particular Sunday morning as I wended through town on my way home from church. Before I knew it, I pulled into my driveway and was getting ready to make the tricky turn into the garage. Now, only those who have attempted this feat will agree that this is no simple parking job. It’s more of an art - judging angles, applying geometry and physics - to park in the garage without going over the driveway’s edge or scraping one of the brick corners.

I reached the top, cut the wheel at the exact spot I’d been taught, and continued to pull confidently into the opening. Just as I realized I hadn’t pulled close enough to the edge, I felt a jolt and heard a terrible crunch! I watched in horror as the wooden bear standing guard by the corner leapt up and landed six feet away, making way for the bumper to meet the corner of the house. With shaking hands and a slack jaw, I put the car in reverse and inched into the garage - successful this time.

As I laid my head on the steering wheel, my mom came running down the stairs, her face displaying a mix of emotions - confusion, shock, frustration, concern, and humor. She didn’t say much and didn’t have to; I felt such intense guilt just looking at her face. With tears welling in my eyes, I listened to my grandpa laugh and joke, saying that that’s what I got for going to church. Even that didn’t completely erase the impact of my mom’s look.

Later that day, after I apologized profusely to my mom, she brought up the dreaded subject: telling my dad. I had to tell him - the one who’s always carping about being careful - that I put a pretty little dent in the front bumper. I may as well have just been sentenced to the gallows. Well, I decided I had better fess up right away because it would be 20 times worse if he found out himself.

My dad’s face had an expression that I could not decipher as I led him around the front of the car and sheepishly told him about my mishap. He looked at the ugly concavity for what seemed like hours before turning to me. I braced myself in anticipation of the storm of reprimands and groundings, but his face softened and his mouth curved up slightly. He wrapped his arms around me and kissed my cheek; I was utterly dumbfounded as he thanked me for telling him, and my mom just stood there and smiled. I was left with tears in my eyes.

With one little kiss on the cheek and a warm smile, my parents showed me what could not be explained in words. That dent has long since been pounded out and covered up, but still their love for me shines through.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






Post a Comment

Be the first to comment on this article!

bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback