biograph | poems | chrestomathy | stories | blog | archives 90% crap
My Hearts Says Go, I Cannot Stop


Let me start off by saying Chantal’s crazy. I mean coo coo for Cocoa Puffs. Let me also say the wreck was not my fault. She would disagree. She would say I’m the one who’s crazy and everything is totally my fault.

“You’re always rushing,” she told me. “It’s like you’re in a race and you’ve got to beat everybody to the grocery store.”

She was cruising down I-45 South at about five miles under the speed limit.

“O.K.” I said. “But, Jesus, do you have to drive forty miles an hour and leave four car lengths between you and the next guy?” That got her going. She sped up and nearly rammed the poor bastard ahead of us.

“See,” Chantal said. “This is how you drive.”

She’s not entirely wrong on this point. I do tend to feel rushed, like time’s running out and we’re not going to make it.

“What happens when we get there?” she asked. “Then you want to rush around to the next place like the post office or the mall. Or you need to meet that jackass friend of yours at the bar.”

The friend she’s referring to is Dave. She doesn’t like him much and feels like we both waste a lot of time.

“So you rush around to save time for what? So you can get drunk at the bar? Why don’t you rush around and find a decent job?”

We’ve been together now going on two years and it always ends up with this bar-job conversation. I’m a mechanic and I pull pretty good money. She’s an administrative assistant, so I don’t know why she thinks that gives her the leg up. But my main point is that she can’t drive. I don’t ride up on people or hit the brakes hard like she says I do. I do it with grace. Nobody knows I’m there. I feel like a NASCAR pro when I’m driving. I can see the moves people intend to make and I adjust for it. I can see four or five moves ahead. Sometimes I think I’d make a damn good stockcar racer. Dave agrees.

“Take the middle lane,” I told her.

“I’m never driving with you again,” she said. “I’m taking the bus.” I know what she’s really saying. I’m just about done with you. I could push you out of the car going eighty. And the bus bit is really twisting the knife. She knows I hate the bus.

I tried to keep my mouth shut. I gripped the door handle and bite my tongue, but I guess she heard me sigh.

“Oh you want to see racing?” she said. “You want to see racing, Mario Andretti? Fucking Dale Earnhardt, Jr.?”

“Calm down,” I said, which, upon reflection, isn’t really the thing to ever say to a woman who is agitated. ‘Calm down’ is like inciting a riot in a woman’s brain. She hits the gas and starts swerving.

“You like this?” she yelled. “You like this?” I looked over and there’s this old fart pulling off onto the shoulder away from us as Chantal swerves into their lane. His wife’s clawing at the dashboard and looking at me white as death. I feel bad for old people like that. They’ve got to be terrified enough as it is. And shit, that’s gonna be me some day. I wanted to roll down the window and tell them I’m sorry. She jerked the wheel and started driving along the center stripe.

“This way we can squeeze between the cars,” she said. “We’ll save seconds. Seconds!” The cars ahead of us were parting like the Red Sea. I thought maybe I can reach my leg over and punch the brakes, but then I was also thinking any minute she’ll snap out of it.

content ©1998-2012 josh magnuson