She was holding my face in her hands and she lifted my lids to have a look underneath. I stood still, watching her, as she searched for loose connections, busted hoses, worn out parts.
“I’m worried about you,” she said.
This was serious work and she squinted as she held her beliefs between her teeth, shining them in criss cross patterns over what she thought was darkness.
What she couldn’t see were eight years of Catholic grade school, four years of public high school, a hundred and seven conversations, the untracked hours spent pondering late at night when all the preachers had put the final touches on their sermons and turned off their lamps
My heart sputtered for her. I had no owner’s manual, no maintenance history she could glance over. I’d pitched the former long ago and the latter was only stored in memory, a series of tune ups and inspections all performed in a private garage made of random associations and startling epiphanies.
She hadn’t been there the day I rolled the windows down and opened up the engine. She had no idea what it feels like to conclude there are no road maps, that love’s the only thing you have to guide you, that here is the only place you need to get to, or that your ETA is now if you can just let go of the steering wheel.
I wanted her to join me and thought about telling here of the promises of present rewards. “I’m right here,” I wanted to say, “Come be here with me.”
But she was busy searching….
for secret compartments
to another place
and another time
where she’d never find me.