It’s Just a Car
I pulled the curtain over just enough to look through the window with one eye. A young man paced around my old car that had a FOR SALE sign plastered to the window. I slipped on my tennis shoes, opened my front door, and walked the short distance down my driveway.
“Hello,” I said. “Are you interested in my car?”
“How could you tell?” he asked, cupping his hands to his face and bending down to the rear window.
“Just a hunch.”
The man ran his hand down the side of the car and turned to face me. “So, what can you tell me about it?”
“It was well-maintained while we used it,” I said.
What I did not tell him was why it was so well maintained. Every single time my late husband and I were late for an event, he had to check all the fluids and tire pressure.
“We’re late enough already, dear,” I would say.
And every time he would reply, “If we’re already late then we might as well make it worth it. Just let me check the oil again.” The next time it would be the windshield wiper fluid that needed to be checked.
The man nodded. “That’s good to know. What else?”
“The seats have been reupholstered more than once,” I told him.
What I did not tell him was my Pomeranian, Daisy, was a bit of a slut. She often got pregnant by the dogs around the neighborhood. I did not tell him that she had many litters on the backseat of the car.
“How long has it been since the last reupholstering?” the man asked.
Since Daisy died three years ago, I said, “About three years.”
“And how many miles does the engine have on it?” the man asked.
I did not tell him how those miles accumulated. I did not tell him that my husband and I bought this car before our wedding and used it to travel the country for our honeymoon. We went from Los Angeles to Las Vegas. From Vegas, we drove back down to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. We skied in Colorado and advanced to Kentucky to watch the Kentucky Derby. We traveled north to Michigan just to taste Mackinac Island fudge. That was a great trip.
“The windshield was also replaced recently,” I said to the man.
Why the windshield was replaced would remain a mystery to him. I did not tell him that on one of our Sunday afternoon drives a deer decided to jump through our windshield and land on our laps.
“The tires are also fairly new,” I said.
I did not tell him that one night my husband and I wanted to go on an adventure. I did not tell him that we found a two-track and drove down, running over nails in the process.
I did not tell him that when my husband lost his job we lived in the car for three months while he looked for another job.
“How many miles to the gallon does it get?” the man asked.
I did not tell him that my husband and I were running low on gas one day. I did not tell him that we had to calculate how many miles per gallon the car got so we could decide what gas station we could make it to.
“I’ll take it,” the man said. The man wrote me a check and drove off down the empty road as I stood and watched it disappear.
I heard my husband’s voice. “Let it go, Judy. It’s just a car.”
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