It was a rainy day. I was driving back home from work. My wipers were doing battle with the heavy raindrops as my windshield did its best to withstand the downpour.
On my way I saw a car on the right side of the road. The car had its blinkers on and was being whipped from all sides by the mighty storm.
I closed in and parked in front of it. I moved close to the window and, already drenched from the rain, looked inside. There was a girl sitting there, her head against the wheel, tears covering her whole face.
I tapped on her window. She slit it open.
‘Everything okay?’ I asked.
‘No,’ she said, still weeping, ‘my car broke down and I don’t know what to do.’
‘Have you tried calling a mechanic?’
‘Yes, but they said it’ll take at least half an hour before he gets here because of this crazy storm.’
‘I’ll wait with you,’ I said.
‘Do you know anything about cars?’
She unlocked her doors and I went in and sat in the passenger seat next to her.
Her crying stopped. Her face lit up, like a candle trying to cover up the darkness in a black room.
She was a stranger to me, but as I watched her wipe away traces of her tears, I felt some kind of familiarity growing between us.
It was a symbiosis between two souls – unrelated on the face of things – but stuck in the same cup or more accurately in the same car under the same downpour.
Her body was still shaking a bit, and I could see her grappling with the wheel with both hands.
‘You should try to relax a bit,’ I told her.
She was still holding firmly to the wheel, tightening her grip.
‘Hey, you should try to relax a bit,’ I said. And I gently placed my hands over hers, loosened her hold on the wheel, and unlocked her still-shaking hands.
She looked at me with an air of desperation, and I could tell her thoughts were still fixated on the heavy rain.
‘Do you think the rain will stop before the mechanic gets here?’ she asked.
‘Do you think he’ll get here soon? I don’t want to be stuck here all day…’
‘It’ll be all right,’ I lied.
The rain was still going strong. We managed to hit it off and get into a little bit of small talk, by which point she had stopped trembling like a leaf in mid-autumn and regained some of her composure.
I even noticed a faint smile surfacing under her right cheek.
The stormy wind was still huffing and puffing and blowing at eccentric speeds. I checked my wrist watch and we’d already passed the half-hour promised by the mechanic.
I didn’t even know what I was doing here – or why I decided to jump in the car with this complete stranger – but something about her, about being stuck in a car in the middle of this storm, about this whole thing was agreeable; even pleasurable.
As I listened to her talking I felt a bright light radiating from her. I looked through the windshield and tried to catch a glimpse of the sky between the raindrops crashing against it.
There was nothing but black clouds, and the sky was going to fall on us.
There were no traces of the sun, no light – except the one she was emitting. It was a bright light that climbed between the dark spots of the day and shone through every one of them.
There was a moment of silence between us. I was embarrassed by the quiet that circulated in the car but I noticed that shy smile widening on her face. She looked at me, like a poor child having just received a candy bar, then sat back and observed the road up front. The rain, the traffic, the honking, the wind, the storm – even her car breaking down didn’t seem to faze her anymore.
She had gotten over all of it and into nirvana.
Her attitude intrigued and impressed me as I struggled to justify my presence. I didn’t know a dime about cars or why they broke down or how to fix them and my being next to her seemed useless. But something was pulling me in, convincing me to stay when all the other signs were telling me to hit the road.
So I sat back and observed the world just like her: without a care in my mind.
It was her world, my world, our world – this great mess of people, rain, mud, gravel, wind and cars; a beautiful disaster.
Then there was a light tapping at her window. Again she slit it open, unable to see who it was this time from all the rain.
The man in a yellow raincoat was the mechanic. Salvation was near.
The girl rejoiced and got out of the car. I did the same, only I knew that was my cue to be on my way.
As the mechanic started working on the car, I slowly started to move away from it, rethinking the moments I shared with the girl inside that vehicle.
Then I heard the girl’s voice overtaking the beating of the rain: ‘Hey mister,’ she said, ‘Thanks.’
And the smile on her face had made it all the way to the other cheek.
I turned and returned the smile, then made my way toward my car.
I still think about that girl – we didn’t give each other our names, but I still remember everything about her that day. Her hair, the color of her eyes, her clothes, her car – a blue 11’ Mazda 2 – even her plate number.
It’s as if we are sometimes driven to do crazy things without reason or particular understanding. Sometimes it might be for love or passion or anything else that might make sense if you try to put it on paper…and it only does if you are able to.
I might have loved the nameless girl with the blue Mazda the day I sat in the car with her under the rain…it seems as if the memories and lasting impressions of some events are meant to last longer than the events themselves and sometimes even seem more real than them.
She keeps popping in my head, appearing in my poems, my stories, reflecting in my words, and I guess from that rainy day on, she’s become a part of my world.