i’ve been staring at the symbol glowing on my dashboard, the exclamation point in a horseshoe, the one that has told for me two days that the air pressure in my tires is low. but i don’t know how to fix it, how to measure the air in the hollow tubes, how to calculate what i need to add or subtract so that i can continue moving, because this was always your domain. you always lorded over the car, scheduling oil changes, filling tires, checking brakes, pumping gas. you never taught me these things, hoarding this knowledge, keeping it close.
it’s ridiculous, that this one simple thing, this single task, could incapacitate. i search through the manual, finding nothing that explains to me how i can darken the dash light, how i can move proceed. i turn to the internet, my new husband, and i search, learning about gauges and pumps and how to unscrew the valve covers so that i can place a small tool that reads the pressure. i run to the store, and i look through the car aisle, and i choose what i hope will work, and i go home, and i read directions, finally wandering out to the parking lot.
i bend by a tire, and i remove the first cover and hear the rush of air escaping as i place the pressure tool and think maybe I did something wrong, until i see the number pop into the screen. i figure out that the culprits are the back tires, so i grab the small tire inflation machine i have purchased, and i carefully position it on the valve, and when i think it is tight enough, i turn it on, and it sounds like a jackhammer, and it scratches and vibrates against the hot concrete, and i take a guess after a few moments that maybe it has filled it enough. i test it again with the pressure tool, and it is filled exactly where it should be, and i feel a slight rush to know that i am capable of this, that i can do something i have never had to do, that i can live without you, and outside of your shadow, that i do not have to miss you.
i fill the other tire, replace all the caps, and i sit in the driver’s seat, turning the key, fearing the light will pop into my dash, except it stays dark, and i feel a wave of relief because my heart not only sighs, but finally believes itself as it whispers:
‘i do not need you anymore.’
Reflections of a woman spawned in a cement cocoon...