I am in Johnstown, Pennsylvania because this is where the tow truck brought me, from the Midas shop just off the Pennsylvania turnpike to a Honda dealership thirty miles away. These are all the things that went right:
- When the engine light came on, I was less than ten miles from a Midas shop rather than the middle of nowhere.
- The man at the Midas shop knew where the car needed to go to be fixed.
- I heeded the warning from the man at the Midas shop, after I had been waiting ninety minutes for the tow. “If you try driving it, you could blow the engine. A new engine for that car is six or eight thousand dollars.”
- The car was parked under a canopy so the windows could be open for Leda but the rain wouldn’t get in.
- According to the Pizza Hut sign next door, it was 72°F, which was perfect for Leda and perfect for me when the Midas shop closed and I needed to wait with Leda in the car.
- Dave with the tow truck and the intricate tattoos got me to the Honda dealership just before they closed.
- Jim at the Honda dealership drove Leda and me and our one bag of essentials to the hotel that took pets and had a room available.
- The hotel was within walking distance of anything I might need—including Leda’s brand of dog food—if it took more than a day to repair the car.
- The car didn’t need a new engine or transmission, just a switch for an oil rocker arm and one tire, which cost hundreds instead of thousands, and all parts were in stock. We were back on the road by midday.
I am writing a lot about the car because I am not writing much about my last visit with my mother, with me imagining us with wounded legs, wounded from having been caught in a trap. I want to keep the conversation we had private. We said very little and cried a lot. When we hugged, I wasn’t imaging our legs or anything about us. I was just feeling two women, wounded and strong.
. . . .
Chewing the Cud of Good
When I was riding up high in the big red Freightliner tow truck, I prayed. Sometimes I pray to God or the universe but this time I prayed to Trent. It seemed to make sense—Trent was always good at knowing what to do about vehicles (he did not refer to them as “cars”). I finished my prayer and looked out the window just as we passed a sign for the Trent Insurance Agency. That’s when I knew that everything was going to be fine, that I just needed to be calm and patient.