Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Crazy Truck..

I was pulling out of the gas station near my house this afternoon when I saw Pete's truck driving down the road.  I thought to myself, "Oh look, that truck looks like Pete's." I kept staring at it, as I took inventory of the teal color and the one black panel.  Knowing the crazy color scheme was a true sign that it was in fact, his truck.   I gaped as it drove in front of me, unable to rip my eyes from it.  I sat at the stop sign knowing that it was my turn to go, but I didn't know what to do.  Keep sitting there? Keep driving? Turn around?  I didn't know what I wanted to do. Putting my foot on the gas I turned to the left as I thought about my options.  I could turn around and go and see it. Or I could continue on to the store.  I still couldn't decide. So I turned into my neighborhood, pulled off to the side of the road and sat next to a fire hydrant while I figured it out.  
   I was consumed with so many emotions at one time. Mostly just complete kick to the gut. I knew that when I gave his truck to my cousin that it would be in good hands, I just hadn't prepared myself for it to be driving around me.    A part of me wanted to hunt my cousin down and ask for it back. Thinking that I had made a mistake and that I really could keep it at my house. I thought of all the scenarios. But I knew that the conclusion would be the same. I took a deep breath. What did I want to do?   Did I want to go and see it back at the gas station? I did. But I didn't.  I mostly couldn't get over my reaction to seeing it.   I sat in my car, parked in front of a stranger's house as the sun beat down on me through the windshield.   I felt grateful to my cousin for taking on such a project, and grateful that he said I could come and visit it sometime at his house.  But, I felt sad too.  Sad that I didn't have it anymore, sad that it wasn't a happy sight anymore as it rounded the corner, and sad that Pete wasn't here to drive it around.  
   His truck was always a conversation starter. What with its three toned color scheme of teal, black, and rust and only one racing seat on the drivers side.  He used to let Aryanna play in the bed of it, when he got home from work, but he  always stood close by to catch her in case she didn't accidentally put her foot through a well rusted spot behind the driver's side seat. The clutch would stick and was old, and on more than one occasion he would have to put the truck in neutral, give it a good push, then jump in it as it was rolling in order to get it started. It was a good thing our driveway was on an incline.    My dad used to always joke with Pete about his truck. Saying that no one would know he was such a smart guy since he drove that little POS around.  Pete would just laugh and nod his head.  I think Pete kept it just for spite. That, and he had big plans for it. He even started some of those plans.  He lowered it, which I always thought was especially funny since it was already a mini truck, I apparently didn't know it was cool, as he so often told me.   He wanted to paint it purple, which was perfect since it was our favorite color.  He also wanted to make his own decals for the odometers. He even made some temporary ones out of tracing paper. He bought new racing seats to put in the cab. Apparently the seat was a real pain in the ass to put in, but maybe it had more to do with the fact that he picked an insanely cold Martin Luther King Day to up and decide he wanted his bench seat out and the racing seats in.  He was mostly frozen through, but by the end of the day he had his racing seat in, he planned to wait until spring to put in the other one.  However, one less seat in the cab did come in handy for taking home a couple of  teenage boys from wrestling practice.  He did put an old outdoor folding chair on the passenger side.   It was just about the right height too, so that when the person sat down they could still use the functioning seat belt to stay safe.  
      Pete had always said that when Aryanna was old enough to learn to drive he would  teach her to drive, in his truck. He wanted to teach her how to take care of it, everything from an oil change to how to rebuild the engine if need be.  I remember after his funeral I looked at my brother in law and said,  "I can't go home and see his truck in our driveway. I can't look at it."  He looked at me and said "I'll take care of it."  By the time I got home that evening it was gone.   It sat in an airplane hanger for six years, thanks to a family friend.     I think I thought it would just live there forever, or at least until I decided what to do with it.    It was my brother in law who called to tell me that our friend was selling his airplane hanger, so we needed to figure out what to do with the truck.   Who knew that after six year I was still just as baffled as to  what to do with it, as  I was the day of his funeral.   I didn't know what I wanted to do?  I wanted to keep it. It was Pete's. It was his truck. The truck he drove every day. The one that made us laugh, the one that he tinkered with in the garage, the one that he would teach our kids to drive on.  I had to figure out what to do with it?  How does one decide something like that?
   The same old questions went around and around in my head. What would Pete want me to do with it? Could I really bear to look at it every day? Sitting there in the driveway, expectantly waiting for someone to drive it. That same someone that no longer walked the earth?  I knew in my heart and in my soul that I couldn't bear that. And most of all I couldn't do that to Aryanna and Petey. We have all come so far in our healing that seeing it every day just waiting there would not be something that would be helpful.  The only answer, was to let it go.  It was maddening. Every scenario came back to the same conclusion.  I didn't have the funds that it needed to be fixed enough to get it running, and I still couldn't look at it.   So, what would  Pete have wanted me to do with his truck? He would have wanted someone who could use it. Someone who needed it for transportation. Someone who enjoyed fixing things and making them new.  And what did I want? I wanted someone to love it. Like I did.   I picked up my phone and sent my brother in law a text that I had decided to let it go. And he said That was great and that our cousin wanted it.  I was relieved on one level that if I had to let it go, at least it would be staying in the family.  I asked if I would have a chance to say goodbye to it, and he said I could but that it had to be moved the next day. Well, of course due to everyone at my house being sick I wasn't going to be able to see it.  I asked if I could visit it at, its new home and he said he was sure that would be no problem.   However, I really did want to see it before it left. So, J took me over to the parking lot it was in.   Just as we were about to come around the corner J told me that it would be on my right and to be prepared.      Slowly it came into view. And like a punch to the gut, I literally gasped.  My face felt numb and my hands began to shake.  He parked the car next to it and I hesitantly pushed the car door open.  Unable to keep my hands in my pocket I reached for the cold metal as uncontrollable sobs escaped my lips.  I wanted to lie face down on the hood of it, wrap my arms around it, and hold it close to my body.  It was just a truck, but it was so, so, much more than that.  I walked slowly around it and gripped the door handle of the drivers side as I peered in through the dirty window.  Everything was just as he left it. scattered papers, a blanket, wrestling shoes, and one seat.  I don't know how long I stood there, it felt like an instant and a lifetime combined.  Part of me never wanted to leave or be away from it, while the other part knew I couldn't stay.   Remembering what my brother in law had said, I held onto the fact that when it arrived at its new home I could go and give it a proper send off, one where I could actually get inside of it.  I slowly turned away from it, walked back to my ruby, and got inside. Where my family was waiting for me.   J slowly backed out of the parking space saying nothing as he took my hand in his.   I watched tearfully as we drove away from it.  
   Who knew that one truck could cause so much havoc on one crazy lady's heart.  I thought about my cousin at that gas station, and I thought about going to see him. But, thought I would wait for another time.  As I think of Pete's truck I know it's exactly where it's supposed to be.  Its with someone who loves to fix things up, who needed the transportation and someone who has the gift to bring life back into it.  Kind of like us.  When Pete passed we were broken, completely shattered into a zillion little pieces. But with time, Faith, Courage, and God's love we began to heal. God, friends, and family tinkered with our hearts, our minds and our souls. Putting the right people and events into place to breathe life, and love into us once again.  Thanks to an angel with a big dream and a crazy ol' truck.