Growing Old

Pulling the car in the driveway after an 18-hour trip from Boston, we finally got up the courage to try the power windows.

It's a very old car, you see, and you never know. The paint's peeled off the roof; the tires are so bald we held our breath for every off-ramp, and the heater core is tender and could go at any minute -- dumping boiling antifreeze onto the floorboard. And the radio doesn't work.

It was nice, though, to talk to each other and travel through states together. Around Connecticut, we'd both somehow bonded with the car, looking at its thrumming down the highway as an effort we were all in together: Me, Penny, and the Car. It wasn't easy for any of us, but that just made the gesture grander.

In a very old car, you don't expect -- you hope. You focus on what does work, instead of what doesn't. You appreciate each action, each upshift, each blinker that blinks when you flip the switch. Penny walked around the car in a Pennsylvania parking lot and gave me thumbs up for each functioning turn signal. I smiled from the driver's seat, thinking, "three out of four ain't bad."

So when we looked at each other in the driveway, understanding the journey and how miraculous it was that we'd come so far with so little, and at last pressed the little button on the door, it didn't really matter if the window rolled down or not. We'd have been okay either way.

But it did work. The ancient glass retracted into the crumbling door panel, and reversed direction like it was designed to so long ago. We looked out through the pane at the world around us, the world we'd spent two days watching scroll past, and cheered.

1 comment:

Thomas said...

yay! Go Volvo Go.