Become a Fan
By Jerelyn Craden
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Rated "G" by the Author.
A quiet revelation in a small town car wash.
Back in Stratford, my rented Toyota haggard and scraggy choking from the salt of the highways and city – windows streaked with white crust – its general appearance begging botox for cars -- I drive down Nelson Street toward the local car wash so it can breathe again. The sun is shining, Agnes’s nose is happily sucking air from the slightly cracked open back window, and crossing before us at West Grove is our mailman who’s tanning as he walks.
“Hi, beautiful day!” he shouts. Normally, he walks with his head down against the cold, his face buried beneath a knitted face mask eyeing the sidewalk for hidden ice. Nobody likes an incapacitated mailman. But today he’s happy and grateful and Zippidee doo-da flashes like bluebird wings in his eyes.
I am happy it’s sunny, but still reeling from endless weeks of grey, am not at all surprised when the twenty-something young man in the black soiled cap and braid standing behind the cash register replies in the negative when I ask: “How ‘ya doin’ today?” What does surprise me is what he says: “I’m feeling backwards.” Hmm ... backwards.
I pay my seventeen dollars for half a tank of gasoline, the cheapest kind now that it costs twice as much to feed my compact, and another five for a basic car wash and get back in the saddle for its salt exfoliation. I’m feeling backwards. What an interesting thing to say.
I follow the arrows and drive around the corner of the small rectangular building when my car lunges forward braying with excitement at the site of the massive rotating washer brushes. I pull in the reins on all four cylinders and an attendant guides my tires onto an automated track. Back window up, car in neutral, aerial in, Agnes reclines on the back seat and I wonder: What does feeling backwards feel like? What did he mean by that? I had to go back and ask him.
“What did you mean, you’re feeling backwards?”
“You thought about it all this time?” he asks.
“Yes, it’s an interesting choice of words.”
“Well, I’m all about words, and today I was just feeling ... like I was in a hole. Like everything I tried to do just didn’t work.”
“Ah, you must be a writer.”
His eyes light up.
“Yesssss, I am!”
“So am I, and I know how tough it can be ... but just keep it up ... keep it up.”
I collect my change and as I walk toward the door, I sneak a quick look back. He’s pushed his cap at a jaunty angle and stares at me with a meaningful grin. Somebody got him.
I smile as Agnes welcomes me back into our shiny used car. All is well. All is good. I think about giving my laptop a rest and going bowling.
Site: Vessie Flamingo
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|Reviewed by Jean Pike
|I enjoyed this very much, Jerelyn. Funny, how life's small moments can make such an impact. You captured the moment and the life lesson in a most delightful way.|
|Reviewed by Tami Ryan
|I could only smile and nod in affirmation. Isn't it a great feeling when we make that connection with another writer? (smiles)
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|Reviewed by Michelle Mills
|Jeepers, I know that backwards feeling VERY well! This is such an interesting little story Jerelyn. And I love your dog's name...Agnes! How adorable. I think taking a day off to recharge one's batteries is a great idea...we as writers need those breaks now and then. Loved this piece. Michelle|