“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” -C.S. Lewis
“What kind of car is this again?” she asked him as her eyes glazed over the cracked dashboard and the broken radio. She was trying not to judge his love for the vehicle, but it was basically a giant scrap of metal.
“For the last time,” he told her exasperated, “it’s an ’84 Chevy pick up. It’s not that complicated.”
“Either way,” she rolled her eyes, “it’s going to break down again.”
“I’ve driven us half way across the country and you think she’s gonna give out on us?” He moved his arm to rest on the back of the seats behind them and leaned down towards her.
She shifted in her seat her knees brushing his, “She? You’re ridiculous.”
“Yes, she. Got a spunky personality too. Did I tell you that I fixed her up from nothing?”
“You did?” she asked surprised. As much as he was obsessively talking about this car, he never mentioned that part. She noticed him scoot closer across the seat, one arm moving behind her, and the other resting on the steering wheel. She felt her heart beat a little faster and her body move closer as he started talking.
“It was my car when I was sixteen, but I lost it in the accident,” his voice dropped and she sensed the tone changing. She looked up at him searching for some sign of sadness or remorse, but she didn’t find it. He seemed relaxed as if he was telling a story about a trip to the store.
“When I got out of jail, it was still wrecked,” he continued. “I thought I was finally gonna forgive myself, but I cried when I saw it. It was awful seeing what I’d done after all those years.”
He paused, looking at her to make sure she wasn’t fading away. Hoping she still saw something in him other than that damn accident. It seemed like not only a part of him, but all he was made of. But as he talked, he saw empathy rather than judgement. He suddenly felt the courage to keep talking.
“I hated my dad for keeping it; I knew he was trying to punish me. But I realized it was the only thing I could fix. The only piece left of what I destroyed, and I had the chance to salvage that.”
“Are you glad you did?”
“I am,” he answered, nodding his head. No one had ever asked about his choices now. Only blamed him for the ones then. “It just reminds me of the decisions I made. And how I made the wrong ones.”
“But you were so young,” she countered. “We all make mistakes when we’re young.”
“Not like that,” he argued harsher than he meant to. She didn’t seem to notice.
“Are you happy with your choices now?” She asked, her voice quiet and her hand gently moving to his thigh. His eyes drifted down and then back to her. Moving his hand down into her hair, he smiled.
“Good answer,” she smiled back and moved her hand to his neck, pulling him down to her. Her finger tips traced his dimples as she thought about how damn beautiful he was. So broken and beautiful.
As he kissed her in his beat-up, resurrected car, she forgot about everything else. She could only think of how soft his lips felt in contrast to his rough hands. When she was younger, she used to think she knew what it was like to be in love. What butterflies fluttering around in her stomach was all about. What flowers on her doorstep meant. But now she knew just exactly how far off she was. That was only an idea of what love could be.
But this? Oh, this was love.