Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Microstory 1078: Elmer

I don’t know much about my father. Way she tells it, my mother didn’t know him very well either. It wasn’t a one-night stand, but they didn’t have much time together. It was evidently love at first sight that resulted in an unplanned pregnancy, but they were fully intending to stay together. After he died suddenly, she moved back home to Blast City, so my grandparents could help raise me. One thing I do know about my dad is how much he loved cars. He was apparently working on restoring some kind of classic model before he left us, but his brother inherited it, so I’ve never seen it. It’s not that we don’t get along with my uncle, but he and the rest of that side of the family live halfway across the country, so it’s always been awkward. Several years ago, I was sneaking around the attic when I found a box that once belonged to my father, which mom forgot was even up there. We actually had a few of his possessions that she tucked away, since they were too painful to look at. I discovered detailed plans in the box for the design of a new car. There wasn’t anything unique, or special, about the designs. He theoretically drew them up, because he wanted to build one with his own two hands from scratch, but it was never meant to revolutionize the industry. I decided I wanted to pick up where he left off, and build it myself in my neighbor’s workshop, but I did not know what I was in for. I personally have no strong feelings about cars, but I figured I could do it if I saved up, and took my time. I wasn’t entirely right about that. The fact is I didn't know what I was doing when I started all this. I kept working at it, and working at it, hoping things would eventually come together. But they never did, and I found myself more lost than I ever had been before. Then Viola came along. She spent time with me every day after school in our sophomore year, teaching me what parts I would need, and how to fit them together. We used heavy machinery to manufacture individual parts that didn’t exist, because my dad had come up with them. We contacted regulation authorities, to make sure what we came up with would be street legal. She even helped me tweak the original design, because it otherwise would not have been legal. One day before my sixteenth birthday, everything was finished. It was all put together, tested by engineers, and given full approval to drive. I waited to get in the driver’s seat myself until the next day, just to observe the symbolism of it. I’m so proud of what we accomplished, and so grateful for the opportunity. I almost never had any passengers in it, because I’ve always pretended my dad was with me instead. There was only one time when someone very important asked me for a ride, and I gladly made an exception for her. I’m the one who drove Viola Woods to Masters Creek, and ultimately, her death. I did that. I haven’t driven an inch since.

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