“Miss LeCain, your Lincoln is waiting for you,” The service manager tells me that my car is beautiful, I smile and thank him, taking the key from him; he stumbles and gets his too big finger stuck in my key ring. I button my coat and walk out the door. I see the all too familiar black Lincoln and a family stands and stares, I had them wash it, they stare at me as the key in my pocket unlocks the door, I smile and drive away, we’re both surprised. I catch a glimpse of myself in the rear view mirror and don’t recognize myself. It feels good.
On the way home, I think about how messy it all is. When I was fifteen I hated these cars. I dreamt of taking a cultivator and scraping it down the sides, sometimes it felt like he loved the car more than he loved me, I know better now. I am so mad, about everything. I called the dealership a month ago and asked them if we could get out of the lease; they had good intentions to do some research and get back to me; they never did. Now a man that has sold my family cars since I was ten years old asks me in a crowded waiting room how long my father has to live. The tiny, nosy woman next to me can’t help but watch. He gives me his sympathies and tells me my oil change is on him, his gift to me and my family. In the car driving home I laugh, this car gets complimentary oil changes as part of the lease agreement. Jim tells me that now we figure out who is with us and who is against us.
The universe gave us a seventy degree day this February. I convinced Jim to let me take him for a drive. We fought to get his shoes on over his swollen ankles, and I asked if he wanted me to bring the wheelchair, but he refused. We hold hands, and I help him into the car he used to drive. The battery had died the week before and a man I tipped twenty dollars just left after jumping it. I open the sunroof and turn on the music. Jim smiles, his hair blows in the breeze. We joke about getting pulled over. Jim says he’ll say he’s been kidnapped. We get onto a stretch of road and Jim tells me to give it gas; he tells me to let my foot touch the floor. We’re speeding on a corner, with the sunroof open, and Jim is, for the first time in a while, happy.
On warm summer days, summers ago, Heidi (my dog) and I would wait outside before he came home in that car. We would hear the music long before we could see the car, and then there he was in his sunglasses with all the windows open pulling up the driveway. Life was so simple then. He was healthy and tan, and I was barefoot and running beside the dog to race to say hello to him.
Today, I feel oddly grown up, like it’s a coming of age to drive this car and to actually enjoy it. His Dad had a Lincoln, he and his brother have Lincolns, and today Miss LeCain has one too, even if it’s just for the day. Regardless, I roll the windows down and let the sun in on the way home and put on his sunglasses.