Snapshots

I was inspired by a friend’s blog to be a little more creative in mine… so these next car stories will be presented as a series of word images. Here goes!

Green trees streaming by, zipping down Ryan Road in my green gift car. Press the big pedal as we roll down the hill. Shake, shake, shudder, shudder.  “Get the brakes checked” says Dad.

Heavyness like a cement brick slowly creeping down my throat into my tummy. Shoulders hunched. Writing on a paper. $1100. Brake repair at Budget brake and muffler. $500 bank account balance. $1000 credit card balance.

A friendly voice. “I’ll do the labour for free” says the voice on my phone.

My friend on his back under my car. “It will be good as new.”

Racing for the ferry terminal. July 1,2007. Isaiah Jonathan Conchie is one day old. One day off work to meet my nephew.  Screeeeech! “That sounds like my car.” The ferry attendant laughs. “Better get your brakes checked.”

Slowly driving up Ryan road hill. Brakes getting quieter, hope rising.  Rumble, rumble, shudder, shudder, silence.  Car dead on the side of the road.

Heavyness like a cement brick slowly creeping down my throat into my tummy. Shoulders hunched. The gentle voice of a mechanic, “your timing belt broke. Your engine is destroyed. You’d be best off buying a new car.”

The friendly voice on the phone…. “I will sell you my car for $1500. You can pay me gradually.”  Trust? or don’t trust?  Choice? Keep job? Quit job? Need a car to go to work.

“The car is a standard. I will take you out and teach you.”

Little red car, fancy stereo.  Gear shift. Confusion. Three pedals. Even more confusion.

Go, stop, go stop, go, stop. shake, shake, shake. Go, stop, go, stop….

First day of work. One day of driving practice in the rearview mirror. Go, stop, go stop, shake…. did it!

Approaching 5th street hill.  “You can do it Mel!” coursing through my mind. 

Clutch down, brake down, brake up, gas down, clutch up! and… stall.

Clutch down, brake down, brake up, gas down, clutch up! and… stall.

Clutch down, brake down, brake up, gas down, clutch up! and… stall.

A patient old lady behind me backs her car down the hill.

Clutch down, brake down, brake up, gas down, clutch up! and… stall!

Focused on the feet, hands forgotten… wait a minute! I’m in neutral!

Shift to first Clutch down, brake down, brake up, gas down, clutch up! and… go!

Music pouring out the speakers, wind in our hair, sky roof up, road trip up island with my friend.  “I am calling your car Cherry Pop. It’s so cute.” She says.

Big hills, fancy foot work, low gear, up we go. One more bag and we wouldn’t have made it.

Chevy Sprint. Cherry Pop. Circus car. Parents and friends crawl out of the back seat. Curl and uncurl their nimble but reluctant limbs.

Glistening oil on the drive way, pitter patter, old car, joy ride is ending but bills never end.

Deep in thought while turning left at an intersection. Deep in fear and worry. Adult life is hard. Bills are hard.  Maybe I saw him and thought I could make it, maybe I didn’t see him enough. The memories are foggy but a crystal picture of a motorcycle driver flying through the air remains.  He landed and crumpled on the pavement. My heart stopped. Paralyzed in the driver’s seat once again. I am a monster.

Sirens scream. police, fire truck, ambulance.  When I finally emerged from my car…

“Thank God!” “Thank God!” the motorcycle man cried.

I was still devastated. “Excuse me, why are you thanking God?”

His flight onto the pavement had given him one injury, a sore thumb.  His next words still shake me. “For the last four days my little boy was riding with me. Today I decided not to take him.”  I cannot even fathom the possible implications of a little boy being there at the scene.  A friend saw my car and stopped to see me.  My body dissolved into tremors and screams.

I promised that day no more car accidents.  So far, I have been able to keep it.

Life continues. Work continued.  Needed wheels to work. Walking home from the beach with my sister. She had come to stay for a week. We sang at the beach and drank in hope.

A truck sat in our driveway. My old roommates truck.  “Angela?” I called. No answer.

“Needed a place to park my truck for a while. You are free to use it.” The message said.

Sunset on the coast, ocean view along the old Island Highway. Angela’s truck taking me to Quadra for Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

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