Part I: Two for One
What is worse than telling your husband that you wrecked his prized corvette? Not much, unless its telling him that you wrecked both his corvettes, in one sweep, in the driveway! How, how could such an event happen? It was so quick, so completely without warning. But happen it did! That sunny June afternoon was like a thousand others. Dave was out of town, due back that evening. I had a few errands to run, and I needed to move his classic ‘71 corvette convertible, which he had recently taught me to drive, in order to get my car out of the garage. Always conscientious, I carefully backed it down the driveway, then slowly up the other side of the driveway. Slow, careful on the clutch, the huge 450 h.p. engine straining to be released! Careful, gas, clutch. Just a few more inches would give me an extra margin of comfort when I backed my car out. Careful, gas, clutch, ease it even closer, nose to nose with the red corvette under restoration. Careful, gas, clutch...WHAM! It jumped! It jumped into the red vette! Crash! The sound of fiberglass buckling and parts smashing is nauseating! One ‘vette, his prize, had a wrinkled nose. The other, the ‘vette under restoration, fell off the blocks as parts scattered across the driveway - red fenders, chrome accents, parts and pieces as if a giant spring holding the car together sprung, just like a toy my brother once had.
After the initial shock wave faded, a deeper, more insidious realization came forth: How do I tell him? No fantasy on Earth could excuse my actions. I’d have to confess, tell the truth, and accept the blame, all of it. It was all mine. But when? How? Should I tell him when he called from Boston, before getting on the plane, as I knew he would? Or should I go to the airport and greet him there with the news? Or, not tell him at all and let him arrive home to find car parts strewn across the driveway? What would he say? I could hear the gasp coming from his slackened jaw, followed by the inevitable, “How could you?”
Before I could decide upon the least traumatic course of action, the phone rang. Still sniveling, I answered, “H H H Helloooooo, followed by, “Noth, noth, nothing,” to his repeated queries, “What’s wrong?” Although I insisted, “Noth, noth, nothing’s wrong,” he finally shouted, “I know what wrong, you wrecked a car!” “Nooooo,” I whimpered, “I wrecked two cars!”
I could well imagine the look on his face, because the tone and volume of his voice told me he was feeling shock, anger and despair. Our long distance conversation lasted thirty minutes, alternating between calm discussions of, “Its only a car, it can be repaired,” and “How could you?”
A few weeks later, he sold the red ‘vette, the one that fell off the blocks, without attempting any repair. He had lost all enthusiasm for it. The classic corvette was repaired quickly and continued to be his pride and joy. And me? In time, I drove the car again,...