The good news: Molly passes her exam. More or less. At the first attempt a problem with her left rear breaks is identified. K takes her to a garage in Gibraltar and she is fitted with new break shoes for a sum of money that stings but doesn’t kill. The day after that she is issued with her ITV, certifying her for another year on the road and another year with us.
I’m well aware that my attachment to a Fiat Seicento could keep a therapist in beer tokens for months but I’m not ready to face my demons just yet and feel an overwhelming relief that I won’t have to.
Once again a new pair of shoes appears to have been the remedy. That happens when there are women in your life. If I’m being sexist you’re just going to have to forgive me. I’m not trying to make any value judgements here; I’m just saying there seem to be an awful lot of shoes involved.
And the bad news: the day after proudly receiving her certificate (picture her why don’t you, wearing her little mortarboard) Molly’s clutch fails.
The day after.
I am not shitting you.
When the clutch goes on what is basically a hairdryer with a roof then that is generally it. Game over. That evening I hold a tearful K close, imagining she shares my daft anguish at the loss of our little girl.
“If only I’d known I’d never have spent that two hundred quid”, she finally emits between sobs.
She can be a hard woman at times.
So that’s that – we now have to scramble around for a new car and quickly. I’m not as emotional as I would have expected – these are just machines no matter how much of our pet related grief we pour into the tank. In a way there is some closure here (although I do struggle when I picture Molly in a lock-up in Gibraltar, waiting to be scrapped) – it is time for the trappings of our life to be the trappings of our new life.
Everything we’ve done has been voluntary and in the spirit of venture, but it isn’t easy abandoning the fixtures and fittings of the past. We miss this, that. Important people who were in constant touch are now in sporadic touch or none at all. Familiar arrangements have given way to a series of mundane puzzles. Making a phone call can be a big deal. Everything can seem a struggle. There is a grieving process and not just for lost lagomorphs.
Misplaced devotion to relics of a life left behind is therefore, quite literally, a drag. We are hurtling – there isn’t time for the backward glance. All available energy must be directed toward the here and now, plans, irregular verbs; we are taking Spanish lessons.
We aren’t that bad any more. K is a little resistant to speaking and I am a little resistant to learning but apart from that we’re beginning to get a grip.
Grip is what it’s all about. Traction; a hold on the language, on our hopes, on our fears, on the steering wheel. Hankering for the lost, hoping for the not-yet-found; these are mental traps, seductive but illusory distractions. Depleters.
The here and now – how easily we neglect it, imagining ourselves to be “on our way” or “recovering from” or some such when all we are is here, now. Hurtling, hurdling, the air rushing past us. A race we must run – without wheels – on our own four feet. Good break shoes and strong lungs. To run as fast as we can but delay crossing the line for as long as we can – that’s the game. This is one race where finishing is not necessarily the desired outcome.
Sooner or later, when a lifetime of wear and tear catches up with us, we will also give out – K’s clutch will fail or my exhaust will fall off (try not to picture that). In the meantime this is all there is. No beginnings and no endings.
Just the air, rushing.
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