I found your note on the counter this morning, so I’ve taken the car into the shop. Safety recall. It was such a formal note, “Dear Maddie:” with a colon, like a business letter. But you were so polite, Daniel, as if I might have plans, and that was thoughtful of you.
I’m going to walk home from the shop. Two miles. It’s good exercise, good to be out in the world, you said, and really, I’m glad you suggested it. My chest is tight with cold, but I don’t believe in asthma anymore. That’s just drama. What’s wrong with brisk? What’s wrong with icicles, glittering along the gutter of the car shop? Just like that magnet on our fridge says—there’s beauty everywhere for those willing to find it.
I drop the keys into the technician’s hand and see his palm is stained and creased. He really works for a living. When I open the door to leave, January wind shoulders its way in, rattling the keys on the pegboard. The tech shivers then, and laughs. The scar that drags down one of his eyelids disappears when he smiles at me, broad and beaming—fatherly, almost.
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