Mom’s Car

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…When I was little, my mom drove a big Chevy Caprice, stubbornly, while all my other friends’ parents drove Nissans, SUVs, and other “regular” cars. When the gray one quit running, she got another, this one green like moss. The gray one had rust spots, patched over with orange putty by Dad’s capable hands. The car sat underneath two giant oak trees as well as a whole family of pines that were there since before I was born and if my last visit home is any indication, look to be on track to outlive me. The trees dripped sap onto the car, making the hood rough to the touch so that by the end of the warm seasons, the hood’s paint was rearranged into a mosaic. Inside the car, it was always cold because Mom couldn’t tolerate any heat. The seats were gray too, in both versions of this monstrosity, and very clean since Mom kept towels on them as a substitute for seat covers. I remember being young enough to use the towels to learn my colors. “Red, green, gray” I would pronounce, walking my fingers along each block of color. Most of the time, the car smelled like Mom, a mix of Red Door perfume, Irish Spring soap, and the subtle petrol smell of years of plastic grocery bags. The rattle of the bags in the back seat were noisy when we went to get groceries, which seemed to need to happen every other day. The bags were also fragile – touching them seemed to create holes. When I had to help haul in groceries from the chevy, I always tried to grab the lightest bags and to avoid the milk since it was a double whammy – frigid, on top of being heavy. Mom was always angry as she was hauling in groceries, or breathing, so in addition to being cold, sweaty, and physically exhausting, the whole experience was also emotionally taxing. I still remember the day we all went to the store – Mom…

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