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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Cars 'n Girls



Even before she’s out of the city, Laura gets her memory sensors flung into overdrive. Racing to make the light that sends them up the winding road to Vallvidreira, she feels her cheeks flush with the effort of ignoring so much accumulated past.

‘Geez, Mom, chill, will ya?’ Annie doesn’t bother to glance up from her mp3, a frown of disparagement locked in place by the third turn.

‘It’s not me, it’s this road,’ Laura says. ‘These curves are a bitch.’ She downshifts into a one-eighty degree turn to the left, then guns it up a short straightaway. Out past the city limits, she settles into the drive, leaning into curves she hasn’t seen in fifteen years like she took them yesterday. The body is a strange creature, remembering things the mind would much prefer to forget. She would rather be checking street signs, just following directions to her kid’s party at a strange house in an unfamiliar town. Instead, she takes the long way around to go past David and Consuelo’s cottage. She hasn’t been here in years, not since the kids got into that silly fight. The excuses pile up. Before you can blink, a decade has passed and you don’t know how to make a breezy phone call. Too many ghosts haunt the line.

Laura finds the house on the second try.

“I thought you knew this place like the back of your hand,” says the daughter who isn’t paying attention.

Laura bites her tongue.

“It’s nice out here,” Laura says as she gets out of the car and pointedly does not lock it.

“Aren’t you gonna lock the car?”

Does she know her daughter or what?

“No one’s gonna steal this shitbox out here.”

Annie stops three paces from the gate.

‘Don’t you have somewhere to go?’

Laura tries to disguise her sudden intake of breath.

‘Yeah. I do.’

Her daughter disappears behind a tall metal door. Laura crosses her arms and leans against the car, jiggles the keys.



26 comments:

  1. I've been on that road :) Nice interaction between mom and daughter.

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    1. Yeah, we all travel that road eventually, don't we! Thanks, Barbara.

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  2. I loved this!! Especially the part about before you can blink a decade has passed and you don't know how to make a breezy phone call. I could relate to this in a strange, wonderful way!!

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    1. Glad you could relate to it (and glad you loved it). Thank you, Donetta.

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  3. Decisions, decisions...I hope she sucks it up (even if she shouldn't have to be the one to) and just shows up at the cottage like no time has passed at all!

    I am So not looking forward to the attitude filled teen years...

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    1. Even if she does show up...??? Thanks for reading, Rachael.

      Yeah, those teen years. *sigh*

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  4. Ah! I liked the way you ended, not knowing she went inside or not.. Gives a chance to interpret the story..

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    1. As many stories as there are readers! Thanks, muZer.

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  5. Really powerful tension between the two - and yes,I have a teenage daughter! Great dialogue, and a poignancy...

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    1. Thank you, Managua. Glad there's a resonance.

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  6. "leaning into curves she hasn't seen in 15 years..." - nice metaphorical touch in the midst of memory descriptives

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    1. I find this happens more and more often... Thank you, Jody.

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  7. I love the 3rd paragraph - everything about it - all the way to 'ghosts haunt the line.' Wonderful mother/daughter interaction. Will she or won't she return to the cottage? Well done!

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  8. Wow. Thank you Steph! Yeah, will she won't she?

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  9. This is a great story line! well done!

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  10. Love the way this drive is described by memory. Yeah, the body knows. Well done!

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    1. Sounds like you've been on a drive or two, Renee. Thank you!

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  11. Two favorite parts: the detail about the body remembering what the mind would rather forget, and the idea of ghosts haunting the telephone line. A nice, slow unravelling of plot!

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    1. Thanks, Brian! Glad they're favorites. I have a few things to forget, and many haunted lines.

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  12. Funny thing these memories are no-some we love to go back to & some we wish never created!And ofc in between there is that no man's land kind of memory-which we are unsure if we want to erase or visit again-sigh!Great piece with realistic dialogues(impatient,inattentive & all knowing teenager & trying to hold on to her sanity & patience,Mom)& interpretations about how memory can be both painful & yet maybe needs to be resolved?Loved it Kymm:-)

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    1. That no-man's land seems to just get wider and wider, and some issues never do get resolved, but it's nice to be able to share the idea of them.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Atreyee.

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  13. Ghosts haunting lines...great bit (:

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    1. Thanks, Draug! Not surprised you like the bit with the ghost.

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