Ride to Heaven

The car has been parked outside her house since Tuesday.

As far as she can tell, it doesn’t belong to anyone. She hasn’t seen anyone come in or out of it since it randomly appeared on the curbside outside her red-brick house. The lights had woken her, shining directly through her bedroom window, flickering once, twice, just like her late husband, Frank, used to when he would pick her up past curfew. By the time she had gotten to the window to see what was going on, the car lights had turned off, and the mysterious owner had already disappeared. If the car is still there by tomorrow evening, she’ll have to call her son, Eddie, who works for the police department. He’ll know what to do about the car.

It isn’t a bad car. Frank used to have one just like it. They had their first kiss in that old car. She remembers her thighs sticking to the new-leather seats, and the plush dice swinging from the rearview mirror as he made a turn.

“My sweet, sweet Christina,” Frank had told her, his eyes as grey as a storm cloud when he looked at her.

Her hair had been short then, and very blonde. Her skin had been smooth and her lips painted a perpetual shade of red. When was the last time her lips and hair had color? She can’t remember. Now, her hair as grey as her husband’s eyes falls in thin, wispy strands along her spine, her skin no longer smooth, and her lips no longer painted with color. Though with Frank gone and buried, there isn’t anyone to impress.

She falls asleep that night, and dreams of the car, of her short, blonde hair, red lips, tight dress, her husband before they said their vows, when it was just his hands on her waist as they kissed in the backseat of his black Cadillac. Their breath fogged up the glass, and the car would become their own little world where nothing else mattered or existed. Their heaven.

The strange car is still there when she wakes in the morning, the windows fogged from the humidity of the night. Who does it belong to? Why is it there, taunting her?

She calls Eddie.

“Mom?” Eddie says. “Are you okay?”

“Hello? Eddie? Can you hear me?”

“Yes, I can hear you mother. Are you okay?”

“Yes, dear, I’m fine. There’s just this car that’s bothering me.”

“What car?”

“It looks just like your father’s, and it’s just sitting here in front of the house. It’s been here since Tuesday, and I don’t know who it belongs to.”

“Mom, today is Tuesday.”

“Is it?”


“Then maybe it was Thursday. I can’t be sure.”

“So, there’s been a car parked in front of your house since Thursday?”

“Yes, and I don’t know who it belongs to.”

“Right. Okay, Mom. I’ll try to stop by around lunch time, and I’ll run the plates for you, okay?”

“Yes, thank you Eddie.”

“Of course, Mom.”

After they say goodbye, she makes herself a cup of tea. She wonders whether she should make Eddie something to eat for lunch. She used to make Frank something to eat when he would come home for lunch, still dressed in his police uniform. She smiles at the memory, and sets aside a plate of leftovers for her son.

Eddie comes by just after two. She hears his car pull into the driveway, and she goes to stand by the door to wait for him. She watches as he walks to the sidewalk, gazes at the car, and scratches his head. 

Then, he walks up to her door, gives her a quick kiss on the cheek, and says, “When did the car leave?”

“What? The car didn’t leave, Eddie. You were just looking at it!”

He turns around, and looks at the car again. Then, he turns back to her and sighs, running a hand through his thinning blonde hair, his father’s grey eyes expressing his concern.

“Mom, there’s no car.”

“Eddie, this is not time for your games. I know I’m getting old, but I know a car when I see one, and that car has been there far too long. I want it gone.”

“Mom, I’m being serious. There’s no car parked in front of your house.”

She sighs, and swats Eddie’s chest.

“Just check the plates, will you? I’m going to heat up your lunch.”

Eddie sighs, runs his hands through his hair again, shakes his head, and agrees.

“Okay, Mom. I’ll be right back.”

She heats up his plate in the microwave, and sets his plate at the table. 

“Well?” she asks when he takes his seat.

“It’s taken care of, Mom. Thank you for lunch,” he says without looking at her.

He finishes his plate quickly, thanks her again for lunch, and gives her a kiss goodbye after promising the car will be gone tomorrow morning. She watches him leave in his patrol car, the black Cadillac still parked on her curbside. 

She remembers the man she sold her husband’s car to after he passed. She remembers the way his eyes lit up like Christmas when she handed him the keys. He called the car a classic, and himself a collector. Did he bring it back? Change his mind? Perhaps she should have asked Eddie about it. Another time, she thinks.

A wave of exhaustion hits her. She’ll go to bed early tonight, and hopefully the car will be gone when she wakes. She gets ready for bed, and as she closes her eyes and drifts away, she dreams.

She dreams of Frank coming to scoop her out of her bed. He carries her to the car parked outside their red-brick house, and places her in the passenger seat before taking the driver’s seat.

“My sweet, sweet Christina,” he tells her, “I’ve missed you.”

He starts the car, and together they drive away into the night.

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