I was thrilled last week when i found an ad for my long lost mechanic in santa fe.
I thought they had closed up shop.
so yeah, thrilled.
i was there today picking up my car and while the owner, neil, is ringing up my total he asks casually if i know where that woman...uh, carpenter??? her last name was carpenter?
if i know where she is.
Standing there in his tiny airless office my head spins
remembering how she and i used to come here
I'd forgotten this.
she had introduced me to him.
how badly she had wanted to be a mechanic
how she longed for the title and the calloused, dirty hands of a tradesman.
remembering how she would banter on with him about calipers and struts and mystery knocks and proven solutions.
to him i say...she committed suicide about a decade ago.
now, being an earnest yet guarded older man he keeps his eyes on the task
nods a bit
says oh... oh... well, i just got to wondering where she'd gone.
i probably didn't need to tell him that
and maybe i shouldn't have it just came spilling out
perhaps w/ a trace of desperation
silence breaking urgency
what i felt next on the tip of my urgent tongue was the need to fill him in on her death.
how she put up such a good front. such a good fight.
her desperate desire to become something more than what she felt she was.
her struggle for stability with unchecked disabilities and the scarlet letter of the street
how she could flash a smile
laugh like she knew a secret
lash out like a beaten dog
and spin one tall tale after another.
how depressed she'd been.
how after she took all those pills she changed her mind and called her ex
who didn't believe her and didn't come to help.
how for nine days no one came.
no one knew she was dead in her apartment
no one came
her cat had kittens in the closet during those days
her dog stayed at the side of her bed
and a neighbor noticed the smell.
i felt the sum of this pile up on the tip of my tongue but i stopped it from spilling out.
i stopped it.
dammed up the desperate urge to testify
to tell him the story of her effort and her loss
to pour it out into the air where it can converge with all the rest of it
into the paycheck to paycheck to no check and the struggle to find self love and meaning.
let it out into the air.
help fill in the cracks she slipped through
her story fills the cracks she slipped through
stories like spackling in the cracks
like hot tar poured into the crumbling street
and neil, with his careful, calloused and dirty hands
he hands me my papers and my key
says there you are aaron, should be running just fine.
i turn and open the door to the outside
fresh air pours in and cools us
repairing the common ground
he flashes me a quick smile
its good to see you he says
be sure and come back.