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Car by Car

Betty was a curvaceous coupe, customised with gleaming chrome. She arrived on the heels of your rough-edged street girls: a shining temptress.

But I had fond memories of cruising along the seafront in your rust-stained Datsun, lured by the lights that danced on the water.

Then came the Triumph with her retro elegance. After our wedding your friends tied beer cans to the exhaust, and we lost them one by one until all that remained was a tangle of ribbons.

The Granada came next; the reluctant beast that needed a bump start every morning when you left for work. The car that saw me stood halfway down the street in my slippers, smiling as you waved through the sunroof.

Then Betty. The only car to be given a name. Betty was a bargain, you said, we’d be fools not to snap her up. And we soon found out why she was so cheap—whilst parked at the roadside she’d been written off by a drunk driver.

Perhaps she was jinxed, or maybe it was coincidence, but from the day you brought Betty home she was a witness to our meltdown, and her imperfect chassis became the emblem of our undoing.

You lost your job and started drinking, stayed out late and came home angry. You begged forgiveness and then did it all again. We were running on empty.

And then you told me you were in love with the barmaid from the Blacksmiths Arms. I broke down, and we broke up.

The weekend you left, I drove recklessly around the village, barefoot and drunk, until I crashed into the farm wall.

You let them tow Betty to the scrap yard, and just like all the other cars before her, she left with a tiny part of us still inside. The final part. Now we were a write-off too.

Flash Fiction by Mandy Huggins
Picture: bumper by Tracy under CC BY 2.0

Published in Autumn 2017


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