Prompt: Write a story about someone who leaves the house for work, and on the way has some kind of accident.
She held her breath as she turned the key in the ignition. Joy! The car started. Each day was like a game of Russian Roulette. The car had no right to still be running, given how she neglected it but when the choice was between food or new spark plugs she chose to take her chances and feed herself and her daughter.
While other people monitored themselves, their skin for lesions, darkened spots that might indicate melanoma or counted their pulse during rest and work to reassure themselves that the ticker was still going strong; Pamela monitored the car.
She could feel the slight pull to the left, a sign of mis-alignment which she blamed on the pothole she’d not seen in the under lit side street Waze took her down three nights ago. She heard the high whine of the engine as it shifted gears and held her breath with it as if she could breathe for the car.
The car had been with her for fifteen years. It had seen her through more than her fair share of bad relationships, her first blind date with Stuart that led to their marriage and to her pregnancy six months later. It had also seen her through his unexpected illness and premature passing. She sometimes felt her car was her best friend. She certainly spent more time with/in it than she did with her friends. She promised them, and herself, that once her daughter was in second grade, she’d be willing to leave her with a babysitter and resume her social life. She made this promise when Fiona was just nine months old. Second grade seemed a lifetime away.
She wondered about and then dismissed as ludicrous the possibility that she could keep the car going long enough for Fiona to have it as her first car. Nine more years? Could she wish the car along for that long? She glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the warm, orange light shining from her living room where the babysitter was no doubt watching television and texting friends. Fiona was in bed, there was nothing to do unless she woke. What would she think if a stranger came in to comfort her instead of her mom? Pamela nearly turned the key to shut off the car but didn’t want to be the type of friend who stood anyone up. She forced herself to put the car into gear and to drive away from the house.
The bar was just a few miles away, walking distance just in case. Pamela needed to know that she’d be able to get back to her daughter if the car picked that instant to give up the ghost. She didn’t want to rely on her friends for a ride or have to pay for an Uber or Lyft.
She parked and said a silent prayer as she turned off the car. Please start again, please start again, please, please, please, start again. Then she left the car and walked unsteadily on high heels she’d dusted off for the occasion toward the overly bright entrance.