A new car. It’s not too much to ask, it really isn’t that I have a new car. It’s not even new, really, it’s used. It has 36,000 miles, it’s in good condition, lots of nifty gadgets, but just big enough for us.
I made the mistake of thinking to myself how it was nice to have something decent, taking care of it, making it a comfortable car, and mine. Truly, and really mine. I did the research, I looked up the prices, I found the money, it was my car. The first major decision of my life without Andrea and I was actually starting to enjoy having it.
It’s been two days past owning the car a month and I’m driving down the freeway on the way home. I put my phone inside the console, listened to the radio, and drove a little more cautiously because it rained. The traffic did slow, in fact it came to a quick screeching halt, the guy in front of me slamming on the brakes. But I had 3 car lengths between me and him, slammed on mine, missed hitting him. Unfortunately, a mere few seconds after I felt my tension relax it happened. A kid in a white Subaru slams into my car at 40-50 miles per hour.
My back bumper is beat up, the exhaust bent, and I had to help the kid push his totaled car off the freeway. My back, elbows and knees hurt. The Manoucheri curse has come full circle again.
I write about this not because I want your sorrow or your pity but because it is yet another event that drags me back into the past no matter how much I want to look forward to the future. I hurt, my body sore, my whole being shaking from the tension and the adrenaline. I called my daughter from the freeway to tell her that I was going to be late. I should have realized then that it was going to freak out the kids as much as it did me.
I got home and was sore, angry and started to snap at the kids for the smallest things. After I pulled the frozen pizzas out of the oven I realized just then that it wasn’t the wreck alone that had me upset. What bothered me more than anything was that I didn’t have Andrea here to tell about it. I had one of the worst nights of the new year and I was alone to my thoughts, which I must tell you all, is never a pleasant thing. If for nothing else, I needed her here to help me to come down off the ceiling, to process what I need to do next, to help me figure out how I’m supposed to get this brand new car fixed and still have money to leave town for the end of March so I don’t have to deal with being here on my anniversary thinking about how she passed away.
I hated the fact that I’m alone in this and have to figure it out. Sure, if it had happened a year ago I still would have done most the work, gotten the estimates, been angry at the kid who was probably singing with his buddies or texting or God knows what else. The difference is there would have been that person, that stabilizing force, to help me find the right thing to do at the right moment. Sure, I’d know what it was all along, but she’d help me to recognize it so much faster.
So now I face the next big leap. The first car, and a month later, the first accident, something I’ve avoided for so long I think I was a kid when I had the last one.
God help me, every time I try and move forward, she’s there, yanking on the rope and dragging me back again. I swear if I didn’t know better I’d think she was haunting me for selling her Suburban on Saturday. If I’d kept that at least I’d have something to drive around.
Now, the car is broken. It’s bruised, no longer new. it will have to sit in the damn shop for a week while it gets repaired, painted, cured, and the paint won’t match. It will always have a record of being in a wreck. The airbag light won’t turn off. The muffler is bent, and I ache everywhere.
It’s the curse. That black cloud hanging over my head. I thought for once, just for a short time, I’d avoided it. Now I know, without a doubt, I just was kidding myself. The difference is, last year the curse didn’t bother me because there was someone there to help me shoulder it. Now, with all the stuff I’m supporting, I wonder how many times I can hold it up without feeling the burden?
Maybe this is what it’s like to be haunted, to have the spirit of your loved one holding you down. I feel like every time something new happens there’s a reminder of the fact that she’s not here.
A lot of philosophy to put on a new car, I know, but like the five of us, it’s now bruised and battered.