Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: New Year (05/09/05)
TITLE: A Car For No Season
By Stephanie Ogren
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The Midwest winters are always a trial for the human spirit and this year was no exception. With blistering temperatures and nearly 12 feet of snow, it looked like this winter was shaping up to be a doozey.
And my spirit was in for some heavy trials.
It was already January and of course I still hadn’t taken the wreath off of the door from Christmas. I hadn’t ventured out to take it down. Also, the mechanical deer were stuck in the same pose since that frozen Christmas Eve when I turned them off for the last time. Of course, now they were buried under the aforementioned 12 feet of snow.
“You can’t even see those things now,” my husband remarked.
It was true, only their little skeletal heads popped out.
But getting back to the car.
It was a brand spanking new Chevy.
I hadn’t even been in a Chevy since 1982 and it was a rather large automobile (meaning that three of new car could fit in it) and it was the color of old stained green carpeting from that same era.
But this car was different, it was bold, it was cute, it was going to boldly go where no car had gone before! It had front-wheel drive, whatever that means.
Until I had to pull out of my driveway on the second morning after the huge snowfall, that is.
Then, for some reason it didn’t seem to have the front-wheel drive and it wasn’t so cute.
Complicating the matter was the fact that my pilot husband was now gone for extended period of time so that meant no chauffeuring me around or coming to my rescue.
So I was on my own with two small boys in tow in the backseat, who were so bundled up I couldn’t even see their faces.
Well, I wasn’t really on my own.
“Lord, help me to get out of here, help me to get to work safely.”
The Lord must have answered my prayer because I couldn’t even budge after I hit a certain point in my driveway. If nothing else, I was pretty safe there.
My tiny blue Matchbox car was positioned in a tilted angle near the street.
“OK,” I took a breath.
“Mom, are we going to stay here?” asked my oldest.
“No, honey, we’re getting out of here, wait just a second.”
I revved the engine and wheels spun. The car made some jerky movements. I could smell the burnt rubber.
“Not good,” I muttered, “spinning tires … burnt rubber … spinning … ” I began to wring my hands, then I began to laugh the laugh of the truly disturbed.
“What it is mom?” the boys asked in unison.
“Nothing,” I said, wearing an odd half-smile, “just talking to myself.”
I sat for moment, feeling helpless. Then I did what anyone would do in my situation – I made it worse.
I decided to start the car again.
And spin the tires again.
The car jerked again.
And this time I didn’t pray.
Instead, I got red-faced and begin to mutter some things that probably weren’t very nice. The boys looked bewildered, not sure what to do next.
“Lord, help my mom,” I heard a small voice say from the back, “she’s freaking out.”
“I am not freaking out!” I hollered.
Then I heard myself, I looked at myself in the rearview mirror, my makeup had come off because I had been rubbing my face so much in my frustration. My hair was static laden and my eyes were wild.
It didn’t look like me.
It didn’t look like anyone I knew.
I finally got out of the prison that was the tiny Chevy, defeated. I unloaded the boys who were elated because they thought that they would get to stay home for the day.
We went inside and I called in to work.
“Oh you got stuck, huh?” The voice on the other end laughed.
After I hung up I looked at my disheveled boys who were still quite bundled up and by now had gotten into the cookies, their small faces smeared with chocolate and looks of concentration as they pondered their next bite. They were pretty oblivious to their mother.
In spite of myself I smiled.
I realized that we were all safe and that I should be thankful, even though I really didn’t feel that way, I mostly felt agitated and overwrought.
But in midst of those feelings came peace.
That and the realization that I would still have to make it to work.
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