My brother Loren’s cranberry red ’98 KIA died on 22 May, the very day Loren died exactly one year ago, and also at the same time of day, about 2:30 pm. A one-year anniversary coincidence?
The KIA didn’t make it from Tallahassee to Toledo, our destination.
Loren didn’t make it to his destination on 22 May 2010, the end of a difficult hike along the Aucilla river in northern Florida. Loren's car didn't make it to its destination either, a year later.
I was beside myself. Loren and I had bought that car together 10 years ago, at a Saturn dealership in St. Pete (photo above). It was his pride and joy.
The guy from AAA who towed it (thank God for Elissa’s membership), Oakley was his name, offered me $200 for it. "For the scrap heap," he added, making it sound even more forlorn and wretched, a death knell.
I had a hard time of it, succumbing to voices they heard but I didn't; there was no way we could get the car to Toledo by driving (impossible) or by towing (which proved ridiculously cumbersome and expensive). We called Oakley and said he could have it. I couldn't stay in Princeton, WVA, hugging that car forever. We had to get back to Sylvania and meet my movers, rescheduled for the next day. Something practical as well as magical motivated us.
Elissa and I made it home, a day late and a dollar short. I had said goodbye to my life in St. Petersburg, to Florida, to my sister, to cousins in North Carolina, and to my brother’s KIA. It was an emotional road trip.
We kept telling ourselves it could be worse. That was our mantra.We came up with worst-case scenarios that comforted us, among them the tragic tornadoes in Missouri.