Copyright © 2012 Brooke Belcher
It read “horn broken, watch for finger”.
I lightly chuckled as I observed the old and worn bumper sticker. I wondered how long it had been on there, with the bright blue of it fading into a gray and the edges peeling from the decay. It was resting comfortably on an old yellow 67’ VW Beetle. The car looked like it had once been a beautiful bright yellow, with white racing stripes down the middle. As I approached the car I could see how time and countless days in the sun had stripped its beauty from it had left tan rusted spots in its place.
I opened the door as my curiosity just got the best of me. The doors creaked with the sound of shifting metal, and the aroma from the car reminded me of old stale cigar smoke and mildew. In the car laid a pile of books in the passenger seat, with countless papers sticking out in every corner possible. A light dust covered the dashboard and almost reminded me of dew in the morning from the reflections of the hot sun.
I spotted a picture planted securely with a paperclip on the sun visor. It was an old black and white picture of a man. He was leaning against a car with a cigarette hanging from him lips. He was young, 23 or so, looked like he could play a double in a James Dean movie, with his slick hair and seductive eyes. I couldn’t help but wonder the story behind this picture, if it had been a lost love, or some tragic ending.
On the rear view mirror hung a pink rosary tinted in gold. In a mess of what this car had become, it hung there like new, and glowing. As my eyes shifted something caught my attention. On a small piece of paper taped by the steering wheel was a phrase, a Latin phrase. “Aut viam inveniam aut faciam”, which means “I will either find a way or make one”. My heart skipped a beat when I read it. That kind of small phrase is something that can stop you dead in your tracks, because even those it’s small, it can change the life of someone. Sometimes only a few words are all it takes.
My curiosity grew even more about the owner of this car. Who was it? What kind of life had they lived?
A few seconds later, I heard footsteps approaching. I swung around to see a lady walking towards me. She was an older lady, probably in her mid 60’s. She had long curly brown hair with streaks of white in it. Age had been good to her. She wore a long burgundy skirt and brown shirt. She had countless necklaces on and gold on every finger. She reminded me of some gypsy you see in the movies.
“Can I help you? Is there a problem?” she said as she approached me.
“No.” I said. “I was just admiring your car.”
“Oh yes, I’ve had this baby since 1969, and she has been through everything with me, and I can’t believe she still runs!”
My curiosity took a hold and I decided to ask about the picture.
“I hate to be a bother, but I’m very curious about the picture of this man on your sun visor. Is it a good story?” I asked.
“Oh darling, it’s the best story and it’s been so long since I’ve told it.” She said. “How about we go grab a cup of coffee and I can tell you all about it.”