getting the keys to your own car at 16.
it used to be a bit of a running gag in our home. k. would rovingly reminisce, with lascivious longing, like winding down the back roads to an abandoned cabin for a stealth rendezvous, about his '84 powder blue, ford escort with the singular am stereo inherited from his mother.
no, i never peered through my curtains to a heart-pounding vehicular assault; waxed to a shimmering sheen, blossomed with a stunning, silver bow, perfectly poised with entitlement in my driveway.
"when i was 16, i had kidney failure and my dad was dead!"
cue: rolling of k's eyes. appropriate mugging of h's face.
oh, how we used to howl with laughter.
[weird. no-one's laughing now.]
when i was 16, this leathery lass had ridden the ttc (toronto transit commission) hard; 8 years into jockeyed submission. she was my bitch. her smells and bells so familiar, i strapped on steel-toed boots and kicked away my theatre school debt by mopping up the "bright lights, big city" placentas left dripping overnight on the stairwells by the buy-and-sells; the ne'er do wells.
with trine the tercel, we sizzled, trailblazing across famed route 66. then down a slow burn into infamy i collapsed, crumbling into a chalky glow, burned by the blistering heat within the golden state; myself. i couldn't see the beauteous salve sitting next to me all along.
for the next 15 years, k. and i shared one car, the someone-please-make-them-retro-chic, station wagon. how we ended up driving such a provincial set of wheels is testament to my elastic stubbornness, and maybe finally dumping her, minutely lessens the chances of me ever falling off one.
so there she stood.
and there i stood.
squinting through my muddled, post-meditation, pounding haze of pain.
but not the 4 am shot bulleting through my brain; searing me awake. not inhuman sounds shattering dreams of a migraine-free life. and not the ice-cube sink[ing], cold-pool plunge into another dead-woman-walking, nightmare day.
not even that would kill my engine.
there she revved. and i flushed. with scarlet fever.
flushed back with canuck-flag waving red.
danish lego-clicking red.
yankee doodle danvian red.
and i was dripping. soaking my back, steamy infatuation; smearing the los angeles asphalt slick.
[slippery when wet.]
and i hopped. and clapped. and clapped some more.
my. very. first. car.
giant forces of goodness, generosity and grace conceived her birth. and i am but a sperm, gratefully, humbly; swimming upstream.
so, of course, her name had to begin with a "g".
yes, i know. nothing with wheels follows a hearse.
[but, she's so pretty!]
i'm not going to lie.
sobriety is a bitch when you're jesused, four on the floor in pain without narcotics.
it's a bitch when you go 11 weeks with only 4 migraines and, wham!, the new drug isn't working.
and it's a bitch when you aren't parking your new car next to your husband's.
but this is the truth about my 10 months and 5 days.
i have a body that was never so free. i have a mind that was never this clear. and a heart that was never so open.
every day in sobriety is a gift.