Some Things Can’t be Painted and Made Pretty

I saw a photo of a woman’s left hand on Instagram the other day. It looked like she was sitting on a couch, with her legs crossed when she took the photo. It’s as if she were in a moment of quiet reflection – inspired, no doubt, by the noxious fumes emanating from a 15mL, or some such similarly small amount, bottle of nail varnish – which culminated in the vain realization that her fingertips were enlivened by a dark red that appears almost black in certain light, much like a red rose of rich hue.

For a moment, I thought of how nice it might be to hold such a hand. I could almost feel the newly manicured fingers sliding between my own, interlocking in a loving embrace. In her right hand, she’s holding a rose floret.

Some things, like my hand, can't be painted and made pretty.
Some things, like my hand, can’t be painted and made pretty.

This dream of mine lasted no longer than the length of an unconscious blink. By the time my eyes had opened again, I was back to thinking about a quiet moment that was recently stolen from me by a shock unforeseen.

I was rear ended real good.
I was rear ended real good.

The collision I was in last week is my red nail varnish. It stole from me my vehicle to quiet reflection and to freedoms defined only by yellow lines. It irrevocably damaged a possession I hold unreasonably dear, like colourful phalanges.

For the last week, I’ve thought of little more than my car. This has been harder than breaking up with a woman. Arguably, this is much worse. I think I’m still in shock.

This is what happened to the front end of my car when I was hit from behind.
This is what happened to the front end of my car when I was hit from behind.

I haven’t let myself cry because I’m still hopeful that it may not yet be over. I’m just waiting for the phone to ring and to get the good news that we are, in fact, going to try to fix it. I don’t want the call for me to come pick up my plates and whatever else I’ve left in the car.

At the same time, I’m trying to be somewhat realistic. I’ve searched online for something new. I even took a car for a test drive. Still, I can’t make a clear-headed decision when so much indecision still looms over me: what am I left with once this is all over?

I mean, I prepared myself for this, even though I hoped it would never happen. I’ve got a rental for now. I’m getting around just fine, but it doesn’t feel the same and it’s far less satisfying. I just don’t feel like myself, I’m uncomfortable, and I’m not taking the confident approach that I normally would. I’m always looking in the rearview mirror when I should be looking ahead of me.

The rental does have some nice features, like a multi-touch display, but they’re just gimmicks when you think about what I stand to lose when we start comparing what’s under the hood. The exterior beauty that held it all together…I’m blind to all others.

A side view of my car after the collision.
A side view of my car after the collision.

I held my shifter for longer and more caressingly than I’ve ever held a woman’s hand; I could feel my car telling me that it was time to up- or down-shift. The metal on the shifter was uniquely polished by the repetitive glances of my palm, as we exchanged mutual desires throughout the day over many years. I didn’t need to look down to see what I was meant to do – I knew all six speeds, and reverse.

Sure, some days together were better than others, but I can’t blame my car for anything. If I wasn’t attending to my car’s needs, and so few they were, how could I but feel the burden of blame?

In one moment, like all the others before it never mattered, it all ended.

I could see him coming, too, for about three seconds; it’s never good to have a man coming up that quickly behind you. I just couldn’t get out of the way. I was trapped on all sides.

We were the ball that remains unpocketed in a combination shot.

My car held strong, protecting me before itself. Self-sacrificing, like the mothering giant octopus who withers to nothing while caring for her yet unborn.

I’m mourning the loss of my car, my car that saved me for my future. Alanis, is this ironic?

I’ve always hated – just despised – nail varnish.

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