cars have stories

My Cars Have Stories to Tell

When I met Judy at a lesbian gathering, I knew nothing about her except that her long disheveled red hair, comfortable demeanor and radiant smile mesmerized me. I didn’t know if I was a lesbian, but I knew I had to see her again.

I discovered that Judy had no phone and no car. But, she had an address, so I drove my second hand Chevie Camaro to her Price Street apartment in the Germantown section of Philly. Nervously conspicuous as the only white person around, I stuffed a note in her mailbox inviting her to visit me at the shore, where I was planning to vacation for the month of August. Her bus ride to Avalon, NJ dropped her off at 10 PM. After smoking a joint and wandering the moonlit sandscape, she nervously rang the doorbell at 2 AM. I didn’t know whether to be angry or excited, but her unannounced arrival presaged the beginning of a 30 year unconventional love affair.

The heat of our attraction caused us to behave like half-witted teenagers. We made out just about everywhere, including the front seat of the dented blue Camaro parked in the driveway of my Mt Airy apartment. She eventually found a job that brought in enough money to buy herself a rusty used VW bug. Gradually our combined cars lost their luster for sexual expression and became practical vehicles for carting kids around to school and after-school activities. Over the next six years Judy found not only a real job teaching physics, but also a fellow teacher who beckoned her to check out her Mazda 626.

The day after she betrayed our six-year monogamous bond, Judy moved out of our house. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or focus on anything. I was furious but couldn’t live without her. It took two years to fully reunite. Every few months, Judy contacted me. “Can we try to work this out?”

Try we did, probably ten different times. Like the time we were riding downtown in my Buick Skylark and Judy mentioned Ms. Mazda’s name. My rage went from 0 to 100 in an instant. My foot lifted from the gas pedal and sprang toward Judy’s ankle, a reflexive boxer’s kick. She shouted, “Stop the car!” She jumped out of the Buick and began to run. I parked the car properly and started

chasing her across Sansom Street and around the block. We spent two years spilling our anger in cars, restaurants and while jogging.

One calm night Judy was staying with me at our house, when we were awakened at midnight by a horn blaring outside. Someone was leaning on their car horn, awakening the whole neighborhood. Judy jumped out of bed and ran outside. She recognized the Mazda; her crazed paramour was raging out of control. Waiting by the front door, I turned and saw my daughter Beth standing at the top of the stairway landing. “It’s her, isn’t it?” I nodded yes.

My daughter had a friend staying over that night, who asked what was happening. “That was one of my Mom’s crazy clients.” Beth hadn’t come out about her lesbian mother even to Kasey, her best friend. The next day she knew it was time to tell the truth. Since she hadn’t talked about Judy’s and my relationship, she hadn’t revealed her pain about our break-up. Kasey had figured it out but was waiting for Beth to tell her.

Over the many years spent together, I inadvertently backed my Toyota Avalon out of the driveway into Judy’s Honda Civic parked across the street. She did the same. We kept our dented cars, despite their imperfections. Neither of us cared much about the appearance of our cars. They were comfortable and served us well. We had every intention to drive them till they fell apart and died.

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