I legitimately ran away from Burlington today. Granted, I have a reason to be gone, and it’s a good one, but don’t let it fool you—even if I hadn’t had one, I would have fled that town today like the fugitive from the Cold, Hard Truth that I am.
Or, at least, I tried to flee quickly and quietly. That’s hard when your car’s front right brake is making a sound as if someone is sanding it every time your tire rotates and it feels like a part of your front end is crumpling every time you actually dare to apply the brakes. Luckily, my mechanic guys are less than a quarter-mile from my apartment. I was able to baby the Civvy there and pass it off to them with sound affects and a worried look. As they diagnosed, I tested the multiple lines of my cell phone between my money dealing for repairs with my father, my freaking out about money dealings with my friends, and my texted second-opinion mechanic’s advice from John, who got to reassure me multiple times that while not replacing the “nearly shot” rotors wasn’t great, and the fierce vibration the new brake pads gave under foot when braking as my nasty rotors wore them down (damned if I didn’t get new pads, financially doomed if I got matching rotors—after all, the Civvy’s alternator was just fucking rebuilt last week and the car serviced to the tune of over $300,) I would be ok and not die.
Let it be stated that John has the patience of a saint, the good sense when it comes to women of a seasoned sterling boyfriend, and the capacity to make me a raging fan-girl because of both.
It’s never good news when the mechanic comes and sits next to you. He looked at me with a mixture of wariness and pity—this college girl obviously in over her head, clutching her cell phone like it was a life-line and she could possibly squeeze both another dime and some good luck out of it—and leaned in. “Do you have a dad or a friend or a boyfriend who works with cars?” he asked me.
Nothing like a complete stranger pressing a sore point. Do Not Go There. Abort Mission. No Talking About The Elephant In The Mechanic Shop. “No…” I started flatly, remembering how Perfect followed Cait all over Burlington playing Boy Mechanic, and then paused, remembering John, presumably on the other end of his phone line, pressing key pad buttons to tell me what to do, always the Knight in Shining Honda Armor. “Actually, I have a friend who works at a Honda dealership?” I finished, the end of my statement rising up like a question. Is John really a friend of mine? Would he really follow through on his word and be willing to help me out?
“Oh, he could probably get the parts much cheaper through his dealership discount,” the mechanic told me, getting more animated now that I had given him something he could work with me with. “He may even be able to replace them himself. It would be much less expensive.”
I loved Mechanic Man at this moment. Most would be telling you that they are the only person capable of caring for your car properly, and at an exorbitant price. This is what returning a mechanic’s wrench will do for you, it seems—you watch out for them, and they watch out for you.
My favorite caveat from my Mechanic Man friend was the words of wisdom he gave me as I climbed into my driver’s seat. “Pump the brakes a few times and test them out. Don’t tail-gate. If your rotors get really hot and you slam on the brakes hard, they could explode. And then the only way you’ll stop is when you hit something.”
I looked at him, wide-eyed. “Or when I pull the emergency brake?”
“Yeah, that, too.”
Excellent. I am driving the Amazing, Exploding, Vibrating Car. We are one sex-toy step up from the Ford Pinto.
On the way home, I got to ponder life a lot. Specifically, though while it may suck sometimes, today really is not when I would want it to end. I cannot die pissed off with Perfect. And the more I thought about Perfect and how mad I still am at him, and how lovely John is, even through my frantic texts to him, the more I wanted to just stop running, stop driving, stop the car, pull over, and collapse.
I’m not a crier. I just find it emotionally and physically exhausting. I can’t muster up the emotion enough to care to cry. Nine times out of ten, if I do cry, it’s out of frustration. Get me angry, get me frustrated, and there come the waterworks. Hurt me, cause me pain—no thanks. I’ll sleep it off. If I feel like I really need to cry, I get into the shower and let the water hit me in the face so I can pretend the droplets streaming down my face and off the tips of my eyelashes are my tears. Just feeling them makes me feel better. Crying, I find, is over-rated.
Because I’m home, I substitute the Jacuzzi bathtub for the shower, though I also love the shower, particularly for singing in, as when you get pitch-perfect, the glass walls emit a lovely reverberation. I was, admittedly, a mistake of my parents. They weren’t expecting a child in their house on the reclusive mountain, and so were in the process of fully-loading it when my mother discovered she was in the family way. Large entertaining deck? Check. Jacuzzi? Check. Library? Nope—make that a child’s bedroom. My father, the sort of guy who doesn’t deal well with his plans being changed, didn’t speak to her for a week. (That, I just find unfair. It takes two to tango, after all, let alone to do the horizontal no-pants dance.) The Jacuzzi is my thing—it’s where I learned how to doggie-paddle, where I used to wash my below-waist long hair through elementary school, and when stress found my life around the same time as high school and the start of manual labor jobs and then demanding retail jobs, it became my oasis from the world.
It’s still one of the first places I go to when I get home. I light all the candles I’ve hoarded into the bathroom from all over the rest of the house with my cigarette lighter, my worst of the Bad Habits. I’m partial to my light because it’s so multi-use friendly—I’ve used it to light up; most of my closest friends have used it; boyfriends have used it; it’s been all over with me through the good, the bad, and the indifferent; it’s lit the road at night, warmed fingers in the winter, and lit candles in again, the good, the bad, and the indifferent. (I’m actually quite a sentimental person about little objects like this. If you look around my room, you’d notice all sorts of little trinkets—stones, shells, bottle caps, ticket stubs, hair ties, pieces of paper, and the big one, fortune cookie fortunes—all with memories behind them. Little touchstones, some with lessons, some sweet, some bitter, some bittersweet.) I let the water run until it’s steamy like a sauna in the bathroom, and then me, book, bathtub and moonlight-filled skylights get re-acquainted.
This may be one of the few times in life I really just breathe. There is something about candle light, water, and music that just strips me down and makes me let go of the things that I normally keep balled up into a tight little bundle of nerves that keeps me vibrating with thoughts and worries day and night. I don’t—ha, as if this should come of any surprise—let go of things easily. Usually, the Jacuzzi, like the barn, is one of those places I let go, if nothing more than out of habit, knowing that I should.
Tonight was different. Tonight was hard. Tonight, I couldn’t keep my attention on the book’s pages, or in what I was doing, or even in the zip code I was in. It seems running from Burlington to home wasn’t far enough to go to lose the things howling and nipping at my heels. It seems as though I’ll have to go even farther. Yes. I am the kind of girl who runs away from things. Last time, it was to get away from Perfect the night we slept together and he spent the night. In the morning, I had to leave by 9 AM to meet my trainer to go to Jersey. This time, although technically it’s to go help my trainer again, it’s really to get away from Perfect again, and all the things left unsaid. (Both times I’ve run away from Perfect, I’ve been wearing the same underwear. This makes me wonder about how much of it is what’s in the panties. Am I really a big pussy when it comes to him and relationships?) So far, I’ve put over 2 hours and 60 miles between us, and it’s still not enough. I’ll let you know when I can figure out when to stop running.
So I finally fell backward and lay at the bottom of the tub, wondering if I could just live there, head underwater, buffering the sound of the world. Me, the Jacuzzi and I…that’s all. Maybe I could hide at the bottom of the porcelain pool forever. Maybe no one would come looking for me. Maybe I could get my mom to deliver meals in twice a day for me. She always says how she misses me; why not move home to avoid life? I had everything else I needed—hell, I’m already in a bathroom, lying in a tub. I have all the water I could ever want or need. There are windows directly above me, a radio, and reading material. With my head underwater, ears flooded, the sound of the radios bass and my heartbeat are the only thing I can hear. No thoughts. No worries. Nothing to run away from anymore. Silence, I don’t get so much of anymore.