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May 10, 2015 @ 2:33 a.m.
Of camping trips and strings

       Aqua-blue Cavalier; I loved that color. I tried loving the car as well, but.
       There were so many road trips in it; miles upon miles of road under its tires. We went from far western TX to Yellowstone. In that car. Driving nights, driving days. I was young and time felt stretched, so I can’t really say from when to when.
       Stick shift, that was the problem. My father, like Mary, loves manual transmission. Automatic is boring, she says. Feels like real driving, she says. Feels like I’m in control, she says.
       Feels like motion sickness, I say.
       Dramamine tastes like earwax. Many. Many times I did not take it. And Yellowstone had dramamine-free hours of backseat agony. A combination of nausea and cold sweat and sinus pressure.
       And that new car smell, so strong. Invading and roiling the stomach.
       It was the nights. Because, if it was getting dark and we were on the road, Vivaldi was coming on. Because this stick-shift of a monster had a cassette player(remember those?). To relax us, he would say. But violins? To peace kids out? I suspect it was less for us and more for his health.
       And there’s the memory: indigo evening skies to Spring and Summer, deep breaths to control the nausea and the swaying and the roiling, the cassette stoping and whirring to play Autumn, my forehead on cool windows to relieve the pressure, imagining cooler places(bathroom tiles), then Winter to now transparent skies showing a whole universe above, Winter to shallow breaths, deep ones are not helping with the smell, then whirring again. Repeat.
       It all sucked very much, I tell ya’.
       That trip of yellow sulfur and boiling pools of an aqua-blue no car could ever match, created a monster of a memory. A chimera of car smell, car-sickness, and unending roads. And Vivaldi the master to summon the beast at any music note's moment. That cassette was my soundtrack to torture; to listen was to be there again. And my body remembered-- all the way to yesterday. When I put it on for nostalgia’s sake, knowing what it physically meant.
       And nothing happened.
       For the first time in twenty-something years, I listened to the Four Seasons and lost myself in the strings. In joy. Because, finally, there is no residual body-memory of backseat nausea.

       And holy schnitzel, he was right: it’s beautiful.

the new-car smell still gets me going, though.

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