Beep Pray Roar

March 21, 2023

Roar. I fell in love with the car in 2017, and two years later have saved enough to bring it home. I’m smitten with the cherry red seat stitching, the manual transmission, the angry headlights. I rip out of the lot and head for Fort Worth, a drive that should take an hour but one I’ll complete in 40 minutes. I laugh each time I look down and realize how effortlessly I’ve accelerated to 100 mph. We are one and we are joy personified.

Wink. Roar. We recognize one another, this little community of car enthusiasts, and we wave when passing. Running into one another at the gas pump leads to cheerful chattering about makes, models, dreams, and adventures. But it’s when you meet the same model on the road that the real magic happens. Bounding down the tollway I spot the blue version out of the corner of my eye and tap the accelerator to see if he’ll keep pace, when from our left the black version pulls forward. In silent agreement we know it’s go time, and we race through the summer twilight, windows open, music blaring, unfettered and free.

Beep. Pray. Roar. The pandemic hits and we’re in lockdown, whatever that means for Texas. The entirety of my world is now contained within 600 square feet, my car the only avenue of escape. I move cautiously down the tollway, alone at high noon, past a billboard proclaiming “We’re all in this together!” The road is abandoned and I know it’s time for me to leave.

Sigh. Beep. Pray. Roar. The relocation astrologist says that Chicago will be OK, Albuquerque better, and Casper ideal. I commit to the third coast—it’s the only city on the list I’ve been to, and besides I like the snow. My cat files his complaints in my hands and forearms, drawing blood every morning as I fish him out from under the bed and lock him in his travel kennel. The incessant rain across Illinois beats a warning against the windshield, but it’s too late to turn back now.

Sigh. Beep. Pray. Click. Beep. Pray. Click. Click. Click. I’ve forgotten (again) what the cold does to a car battery and the mechanic tells me (again) that the car needs at least 10 minutes of drive time. “Every day?” I ask. He scowls. This car is a burden, a chore, another item to check off on the daily list of items to check off. Yet I dutifully pull on my boots and my coat and huff into the driver’s seat to loop the same 10-minutes we drove the day before and the day before that, carving the outline of this tiny suburb in the asphalt. With each drive I remind myself that I am safe here, that this was worth it. There is no joy but I am alive.

Posted on:
March 21, 2023
3 minute read, 475 words
essays and shorts
essay nonfiction creative writing
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