Notes & Essays

A Love Letter for Everyone I've Driven Home

"You are many things and this car has seen better days."
IMAGE Tim Serrano
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You will sit in the passenger’s seat, and outside the street will glow red with the multitude that crawl northward, away from the emptying city. Maybe it will flash yellow, from the lights that flicker above us as we speed towards our secret places on deserted roads filled with the tension between us.

Maybe it will be dark as I kill the engine under the tree outside your house, walk to your side, because the door is broken, and open it to let you out.

All I know is that you are so many things. You are a girl with eyes from a movie, a heart from a fairytale, and a life of your own. You are an old love, with the hands of a hero and the fists of its monsters. You are a flickering friend with the warmth of a fire.

You are many things and this car has seen better days.

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The right headlight only works when I lift the hood, and gently coax two uncooperative wires to kiss.

In the trunk, assorted books, a manageable two-light studio setup, and- at one time-a reluctant friend of ours fit into an ambitiously spacious backseat, and I remember our cargo after an especially ambitious speed bump.

A dent on the left front door remembers how I swerved too hard when someone was screaming. A gash down the right recalls an innocent taxi cab finding its way into my speed as I laughed at a joke. Beneath where we both usually sit, a hairline crack exists in the chassis, and I only know it’s there because your seat shakes imperceptibly at our upper limits.

It is because I wasn’t looking one afternoon, and almost lost my life.

And there is the passenger seat, empty most of the time as I drive, except when any one or two or more of you are there. That seat has held you, and her, and him, and them.

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One strange night, that seat held us.

Underneath the windshield, I see fingerprints. It is sunrise, or 9 PM, or minutes after lunch. But we trace highways, span bridges, duck under checkpoints, smile at the guards, nod at the tanods, wonder why they stare as I open your door and hold you in my eyes. You are someone I know, and someone I loved.

You are so many people, and in this car I drive all of you home.

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About The Author
Joseph Pascual
Joseph Pascual realized that the things he loves best are the challenges of natural light and surprise subjects. Still in the prime of his youth, Joseph is one of the country’s most notable contemporary photographers, and he continues to contribute to numerous publications.
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