6.20.2013 Journal Prompt

Image from Mud
Image from Mud

June 20, 2013: When he grew up…

3 thoughts on “6.20.2013 Journal Prompt

  1. Lindsay

    If you asked him, he’d tell you. He’d look all thoughtful at first as though it was a hard question to put before a kid so green in years. He’d furrow his brow and he’d make a noise in the back of his throat and he’d take his time. Then, Coop’d say that when he grew up he wanted to fix things – just that.

    He’d offer you more if you had the time to listen. He’d tell you of a guy called Chet and the miracle he’d done one day and it was to do with Coop’s dad’s car. It was an old beat up red Ford Thunderbird and she was on her last legs. That’s what his dad had said and for years he had said it. No one else could drive the thing. There was special things you had to do to the pedals and the gears and you had to talk to her right, coaxing her with kind words. ‘Like she was a woman you wanted to keep sweet,’ his dad said. Then one day she just died and no words or pumping of the pedals could coax a choke or a start out of her.

    Chet performed a miracle then. That’s how Coop saw it. Like when Jesus told the man to take up his bed and walk and he just did; or when Lazarus was called forth from the place where his body lay and he walked and talked and was himself again. Chet spent an afternoon under the hood of the car and he made noises like he was shifting heavy loads from one spot to another, or like he was lying with a woman and they were doing it. A whole afternoon of fiddling and checking and adjusting under her skirts. Then when he told dad to give the key a turn, she started up sweet. That was a miracle. Even Coop’s dad said so. That’s what Coop wanted to do when he grew up.

    He took things apart to see how they worked. Clocks and watches and mechanical toys and the insides of scooters and sometimes the engines of cars. And once he understood, he put them back together again. Sometimes they didn’t work so well as before and so he’d take them apart again and start over. People got to know what Coop could do and they brought their broken toasters to him and their radios that were silent. He made no promises except to do his best, but invariably and charging just a dollar for his time, he’d get them working again.

    He wanted to fix things, he’d tell you. But what he wouldn’t say is that there was one thing above all others that he wished was mended. His mam and his dad slept in separate beds and they never spoke except in words that were sharp and thrown and dad was sweeter on the car than he was on his wife. There was something broken there. Coop understood that.

    In the dark, when his mam was by his bed and she was saying him goodnight, he asked her things, knowing she could not see his face or the expression of pain that was there. He’d ask her about how it was between a girl and a boy and what could be done to keep it all sweet and softly purring. They were his dad’s words and his dad was talking about the car. Coop knew his dad loved that car and he had a name for it and it was a woman’s name and so Coop thought it might be the same, that there were pedals to push and coaxing words to be used between a man and a woman.

    ‘Some thing’s can’t be fixed, Coop,’ his mam said. ‘Not ever.’

    Coop remembered that his dad had said the same when the car had died and then Chet had made a miracle and so Coop didn’t believe anymore in ‘can’t’ and so when he grew up he said he wanted to fix things and he meant everything.

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