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Signs of Aging

By Shannon Haley; For the Clock
On November 24, 2017

Signs of Aging 

Shannon Haley

For the Clock 

Iwince as she slams the door shut on the driver’s side and jams the key into the ignition. She turns the key and waits to hear the noise of my engine starting. But no noise comes. Wrong key. She turns it again, but still, nothing. Finally, with the help of the correct key, my engine roars to life and we peel up the dirt road. Late again.

I am a passenger in my own life. Since I left the plant I’ve been handed off from owner to owner, from one life to another, each time passed off for less. Each driver has been different, some more careful than others, but this one is... peculiar. She’s never had a car before but doesn’t exactly treat me with caution of a new driver. She drives me too fast, plays the music too loud, and takes rough back roads. I don’t mind. In fact, I enjoy these rides. But I’m getting old.

She ignores the tired creak of my hinges as she pulls a door open and flings her bags in the back seat and disregards the fact that one of my windows won’t work like it used to. Thankfully she doesn’t look at my undercarriage after she lets my hood drop too hard. She won’t see the bits of rust that have crumbled off, another indication of my deterioration. Then, on our way home from another late night drive, it happened. The beginning of the end. My windows were rolled down (all but one, of course), for some reason my radio was turned off, and she wasn’t driving like she’d just robbed a bank. One of my tires hit a pothole, and I let out a clank. Oh no. She inched me forward, aimed for another hole in the dirt, hit the target, and heard the sound again. A rocker panel was the problem. Well, more like the lack of one. And holes in the undercarriage. I was rusting away, falling apart. It must have been all those back roads she loves so much. Maneuvering us carefully down the road away from the body shop, she a voided any bumps or missing chunks of pavement. But my old body still rattled all the way home.

She put me in park, turned the engine off, and listened to the metal pop as it cooled down. She left me the cow patterned steering wheel cover, but took my main key for herself and left the spare for whoever would take me next. She patted my dashboard a couple of times and sighed before getting out and shutting my creaky door behind her. 

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