Sunday, February 19, 2012

Edith and Ben - Charlize tells Ben about the Truck

[Originally posted at Ana Mardoll's Ramblings.]
[This is on the drive from the airport to Forks when Ben first arrives in Washington.]

As I said, Charlize and I aren't big on talking and car rides together tend to involve listening to the radio while I look out the window and she drives. It looked like this was going to be one of those rides, but then she said, "I got you a truck."

It took me a while to process that. It took me a while to notice that my mouth was actually agape. I looked at her. I looked at the road ahead of us. I looked out my window. I looked back at the road ahead. I still wasn't sure what to think about that. Finally I said, "I have no idea what to say about that."

There was a long moment of... well not silence because the radio was on, but not-talking.

Then she said, "Well, I could tell you what I was afraid you'd say and what I hoped you'd say. Maybe that would give you some ideas."


"I was afraid you'd say, 'A truck? What would I want with a truck? I hate trucks. You're the worst mother ever.' I hoped you'd say, 'Thanks.'"

"You are not the worst mother ever."

"That's high praise."

"Can I see the truck before I decide how I feel about it?"

"Of course."

I tried to go back to looking out the window and listening to the music, but now I was curious. "So how old is it?"

"Well... it's older than I am."

"How much?"

The way she said, "Eleven years," made it pretty clear that she wished I'd asked something else first. She quickly added, "But it's in good repair."

So it was a truck, in good repair, from the 1950s. Assuming that she was right about that, though as far as I knew she didn't know anything more about trucks than I did, I had to wonder how she came across a well maintained truck half a century old. So I asked, "Where did you find it?"

"You remember Billie Black?"

Billie Black was one of my mother's best friends, we used to go fishing with her. She didn't live in Forks, but instead lived with her tribe in a place called La Push about 12 miles to the left. I definitely remembered her so I said, "Of course."

"Well... well she didn't need her truck anymore, so she let me have it cheap."

I didn't remember her truck, but I did remember that she seemed to really understand mechanical things, so if it was her truck I figured Charlize was probably right about it being in good repair. That brought up an entirely unrelated question, "Why doesn't she need it anymore?"

Charlize took a moment, before answering. "She's in a wheelchair now, and... that makes a truck from the 50s not really fit her anymore."

I wasn't prepared for that. "Was there an accident?"

"No. Diabetes." Charlize sighed. "It's not like she stopped being herself, and I don't want to pity her, but she was always so..." she didn't seem to know what to say, but I knew what she meant. Billie could never sit still. On dry land she was always on her feet, seldom running but always walking or at least standing. The only time she wasn't was when she was fishing, or, presumably, when she was driving the truck that I still couldn't remember. It seemed almost unimaginable that she couldn't stand any more. Charlize interrupted my thoughts by saying, "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be dumping all this on your first day here."

"No, it's ok. I had to hear it sooner or later." I hadn't been to Forks in four years. Hearing about Billie really drove home what that might mean. I wasn't sure I was ready for how things had changed. I didn't really remember all that much of how things were, but already such a big part of what I did remember had been overturned.

"The bright side, such as there is one, is that you're getting a truck that's spent the last 20 years in the hands of a really competent mechanic. Try to dwell on that for now, and leave the rest for later."


[Edith and Ben Index]

1 comment:

  1. The more of this stuff you write, the more I don't want to read the originals... because thie is fun, and those clearly aren't.