January 13th, 2020

2010

Family Car

I remember long trips in my family car. If we weren't driving to visit family in Miami, we were driving to visit family in Grosse Pointe. Eventually, we were mostly driving back-and-forth to our country cabin in East Hampton.

The cars my family drove (in order) were a blue Fiat, a grey Mustang, a red Chevrolet (I think), and others I no longer recall. For my 16th birthday, my father gifted me an old, green Cadillac from the 1970s that he bought for a hundred bucks. It was gorgeous. By the time I got my driver's license at age 41, the Cadillac had collapsed into a busted, rusted home for chipmunks. I never drove that car.

My worst car memory was the time after mom left dad. He was nervously driving my brother and I somewhere on a highway and ordered us to be silent. To sit still. I can't remember why, but my brother was making noise. Perhaps it was the low-blood sugar due to his Juvenile Diabetes. I can't remember. All I know is that my father got so mad that he punched me dead in the face. I hardly had time to feel the pain because I was so impressed with his ability to drive 65 miles per hour while concurrently turning around from the wheel and punching his oldest son in the back seat. Such prowess. Such dexterity. I still can't believe it.

My favorite car memory was when my family was still together. I was napping in the back seat with my brother. We were younger. Smaller. I used to lay sideways, the left side of my face sleeping against the leather seat. Michael would lay his head on top of mine. The warmth of his head was the perfect temperature, the perfect weight. Like a hug. Many family trips I drifted happily asleep in a moving car.

Sometimes, when I'm too tired and can't sleep, I can feel his head against mine.