The blue car had been there all night. All night and all day. Parked right in front of his sidewalk. He wouldn’t be able to get around it when Jenny came.
He stood at the window all morning, staring at the ramp to his sidewalk, carefully shoveled, salted, ice free, snow free, right up to the passenger door of the blue car. The snow was stacked neatly on either side of the walk, piled like bricks by the snow blower. The service was quick, efficient, arrived before dawn every snow day. He’d heard the clang of the snow blower dragged off the trailer, the rumble of the motor and could see now that they’d had to haul the thing up the Bransons’ sidewalk to get to his. Blue car in the way.
It was a foreign car. Obviously. Nothing recognizable. Couldn’t see the plate. Who to call? The police? It had only been there a day, not even twenty-four hours. Probably not abandoned. Yet.
He leaned on his walker and mentally walked down the ramp to the sidewalk, and over to the Bransons’. An inch of snow and their walk not yet shoveled. Probably not slippery. But he couldn’t get boots on his useless feet. Have to do it in his slippers.
Take an extra pair. Dry ones in the pouch.
No. Put them in his pocket, one on each side. He wouldn’t have junk hanging off his walker like some old lady. Neat and tidy. His whole life.
The slippers wouldn’t fit in the pockets. Too big. Get a bag, an opaque plastic bag. A surprise, he’d say to Jenny. Just you wait.
Oh, Dad, she’d say. She loved him.
Now he was crying. Sentimental fool. Of course she loved him.
He closed his eyes and saw himself, stupid old man, hunched over his walker staring at some rude stranger’s car, an obstacle he couldn’t get around. Spent his morning on the problem of the blue car. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.
He turned around and walked—not shuffled—walked over to his chair and sat down, carefully, in control. Don’t just drop down—Jenny’s voice in his head.
He was down. Couldn’t see the street or the blue car.
His first car was blue, a deep navy blue, with a silver stripe on the fin. Yes, it had big fins.
He saw himself run out the front door, tossing the keys up, catching them with one hand, tossing them up again, leaping over the snow bank, opening the car door, swinging in, starting the big blue car with fins, rolling down the street and around the corner before you could count to ten. Smooth. Easy. All man. That’s who he was.
© 2012 Kathleen Coskran