3/29/15 He’d Pulled Too Far Forward… Again

The car was in front of the house on the other side of the fence, but it didn’t quite look right. He’d pulled forward a little too far again, and now purple of her tulips were clashing horribly with his orange 350Z. Hadn’t she told him time and again–time and again–to park his car so the purple flowers weren’t backdropped by the body, but instead the tires because nothing could go so well with purple as black. But there it was anyway, for the whole neighborhood to see, purple and a glittery orange. How embarrassing.

She let the curtain fall shut and turned to her husband. Gordon sipped a beer, his arm thrown over the backrest of the sofa the remote on his lap, his crew cut sexy and trim but slightly uneven. She’d get him a better stylist, that was unacceptable. She could see–what did they call those boob muscles on men?–his chest muscles under his shirt. He always took his button down off as soon as he got home. He thumbed the remote and took a sip of beer.

“Babe,” she said.

“Yeah?” his eyes flicked to her, then back to the wide flat screen.

“You pulled forward too much and my tulips are clashing with your car.”

The side of his lip curled. He did that when he thought she was being irrational, she knew. But hadn’t she told him? Really, time and again?

“You can move it.”

“I can’t,” she said. I don’t drive stick.

“You don’t need to drive,” he said. “just let it roll backward a little. It’s not in gear, you just have to let off the parking brake.”


“On the table.”

She table was cluttered with mail. He’d dumped it there even though they had a designated mail catch. It even had name tags so you could sort out the mail according to whom it was addressed to. That mail catch was a labor of love and did anyone appreciate it?

She barely fit in the car. It wasn’t because she was large, no. She was just long, she’d always been long. Long neck, long arms, long legs. And thin, too. good genes, dad always said. She thought he was right. But trying to slide into the driver’s seat she was suddenly wishing God had given her some shorter legs. How Gordon fit in here–nobody knew. He was a good deal bigger than she was and it was his daily driver.

One hand on the wheel, she let off the parking brake. The driveway was on the smallest slant imaginable. With one foot on the brake pedal Margret pushed the ground with the other. The car crept backwards. She didn’t let it go more than six inches before she pulled the parking brake. She got out of the car and walked around to the other side. She looked at her tulips. They were so regal backdropped but the flat back of the tire. Much better. She went back around to the driver side of the car and was just about to swing the door shut when she noticed a mess of black and colored wires protruding from under the dash on the left side of the drivers seat. A small cube with a small light set into it was wrapped up in them. It wasn’t on. She closed the door and clicked the fob and the car beeped signalling locked.



The TV was an old thing. The screen boxed in by wooden housing, great knobs for channels and volume, but you could only turn the channel up in order to get to the lower ones. Past 16. It had belonged to my great grandmother. Her name had been Snow. I knew her as Grandma Snow. I can’t remember any of the times I met her, but I know I did because my Mom has pictures of me on her lap as a little boy. I thought her last name was Snow because her hair was so white, but no, that was actually her last name.
The TV had a light finish to its wood frame. It wasn’t beautiful, it was more tacky, actually, but then everything was in the basement those days. The couch was a lurid chintz of putrid green and vomit yellow, and it was my favorite couch in the house. It just seemed tougher than other furniture, even though it was old and it was the only couch in the house I could put my feet on, or turn about or over and drape with blankets to make forts.
The organ was an old thing too, and I think it belonged to grandma Swno also–why else would my Mom have held onto it for so long? It sounded like wind but if wind made notes that lasted forever. My friends and I would play, one of us pumping the unbroken pedal, the other on the keys. The organ, like pictures of Grandma Snow, had a lot of grooves and secrets. When I got older I would hide my first porno magazine deep down inside its guts by bending down by the broken pedal and worming my arm up and around some unknowable parts before it could be wedged between a hard block and a metal tube.
I didn’t know Grandma Snow, I was too young, but there’s one pictures my Mom has shown all my previous girlfriends (or at least the ones she’s met). Like most pictures, or perhaps every picture, this one comes with a story. I was very young–you can see that in the picture–just a toddler. I’m sitting on an old woman’s lap. She is hunched over with the weight of time, her thin arms and crinkled-paper hands holding my little smooth ones. My brothers aren’t in the picture, it’s just two of us, me on her lap, her snow white hair as thin and as soft as dandelion. My brothers had taught me, by this ripe age of toddlerhood, the art of the Wet Willy. One simply puts a finger in ones mouth, gets it nice and gross and wet, then puts said finger into an unsuspecting persons ear. At this time you say, “Wet Willy.” And after my mother snapped that picture that’s apparently exactly what I did to my poor unsuspecting great grandmother. My mother tells that everyone laughed, even Grandma Snow–which is a wonderful story, because I can’t remember her in life. I only remember the night she died.