by J. Bradley
The El Camino ignored the traffic light, caving in the driver’s side of
our bright orange Datsun. My stepfather visited chiropractor after
chiropractor. The pain spread to my mother. I got used to the temperature
and television of emergency rooms, my stepfather’s hands at my mother’s
throat. I played carrier pigeon during and after their divorce. When the
time came to learn how to drive, I studied bus routes, clutched onto my
bus pass like a security blanket.
My mom rubbed her hands, pre-planning all of the errands I would run once
I ached to drive, yet never wanted to teach me. I got my learner’s permit
at 17, driving lessons at 18, failed the test, and never tried again.
Sometimes, she’ll remind me how she held onto the aging midnight black
Chevy Blazer until she couldn’t anymore, how others would have killed for
a free car; refusing to drive was the most effective way I could say