A Van Named “Christine?”
Life after Sixty
The old man and I have known each other for forty five years now.
I’m still waiting for some kind of award or something.
Maybe a round of applause.
You think you know someone pretty well after being around them that long.
But the thought that I don’t know him as well as I think I do occurred to me the other day as I looked over his shoulder while he was watching a video on the laptop.
The video was instructing him how to deep clean a windshield.
Which might not seem unusual to you except we are talking about the same man who uses a dirty damp wash cloth to wipe the water splashes off the bathroom mirror. As if…
This is also the same man whose shop floor is covered in a sea of debris that might some day dwarf the Pacific Garbage Island that has been in the news a lot lately.
The same man who once jumped up from the floor where he was hugging, petting and rolling around with our malamute/border collie mix, (that used to be me, just saying) and ran to my aid to grab a cake that was breaking as I was trying to remove it from it’s pan.
The only thing that stopped him from putting his big fuzzy Fang paws right on that semolina sheet cake was the blood curdling scream I produced when I saw those fuzzy Fang paws within a few inches of it.
I think I screamed something like:
“Don’t touch my cake! Look at your hands! They’re covered in dog fur! OH MY GOD! Go wash your hands for blanks sake.”
Which saved the cake from harm but not his self esteem. He shuffled off sheepishly to the bathroom to wash his hands. The one with the streaky mirror.
I know. I’m mean. He was only trying to help.
But you get the drift. He’s no Suzy Homemaker.
So the other day when I saw him watching that “deep cleaning a windshield” video, my eyes kind of narrowed.
I may have walked away cursing under my breath.
Because I realized something.
He’s having an affair.
He’s been acting funny for like a year now.
He’s been spending a lot of time online.
He’s been spending a lot of money online.
He’s been spending a lot of money, time and energy.
Making love to:
Ever since we bought our Road Trek camper van so we could be air conditioned gypsies again and not be tied down to towing a trailer, he’s been acting like a nineteen year old in love. And he’s gone full on Stepford on me.
He keeps that thing cleaner than any vehicle I have ever known him to own. And we met when he was nineteen, so I know how he acted in love at nineteen and I have been around most of his vehicles. Believe me, they weren’t clean.
For whatever reason, this one’s different.
He washes, buffs, polishes and preens over that thing like a narcissistic peacock preening it’s feathers.
And he works on it all the time.
He’s cleaned and conditioned the leather seats.
He’s buffed out the headlight lenses and made them shine like the sun again.
He’s replaced so many parts and made so many upgrades I just close my eyes and pay the VISA without asking questions anymore, because, apparently, that vehicle is his baby.
His attention towards it is as constant as the northern star…
And I haven’t heard him cooing the name Christine yet as he’s buffing the back bumper so I think we are okay.
And I don’t mean to complain.
Maybe I do.
Maybe I’m a little jealous.
Silly I know.
But somebody might want to tell him for me:
You can order flowers online now!
Just don’t tell him I told you so.
Copyright 2019 by Ilona Elliott