Death To Stock Photo are running a series of writing prompts at the moment. This one was “the windshield” and came with this picture. This is what my weird brain came up with.
She was my second love, after scotch. When you’re alone so long you get used to it; eventually you forget what you’re supposed to be missing out on. You adapt. Learn to thrive. Learn to wear your lonliness like a scarf. Whisky helps.
My first girlfriend Holly was a real bitch. I know how that sounds, but there wasn’t a single person who knew her that wouldn’t say the same. I don’t think I’d have stayed with her at all if she didn’t give such killer head. Must have been the constant complaining worked her face muscles, or something.
The car was bought years back, and it was old then. Holly said it was a hunk of junk, and I coudn’t disagree; the blue paint had half peeled away to show rust, and it couldn’t start uphill, but I’d always wanted a VW. I called it Betty, after my mum. That wasn’t fair of me, really.
Nina was different. It was her idea to hang all that crap off the rear view mirror. “I’m just putting a little jewellery on poor Betty,” she said. I didn’t tell her that my mother would never have worn beads. It didn’t matter.
I kept meaning to take them down but I guess I never did.
I crashed my first car the day I passed my driving test. Chalk it up to youthful arrogance — I was still buzzing from the high of passing, the first test I’d ever felt confident going into. It wasn’t until later, when I’d picked up my shitty “new” car and called on my friends that things went wrong. I told the police that I hadn’t been drinking, which wasn’t strictly true. They told me we were lucky to be alive. The car was totalled.
We were fighting, as usual, and drinking. Not the best combination when you’re manouvering a rickety hunk of junk like Betty. I was always drunk those days, and had learned how to act like I wasn’t. I could even say the alphabet backwards, just in case I had to. I was just drunk enough to feel in control, and just too drunk not to be.
When I took my my driving test, I kept thinking back to what my best friend Dougie had told me in school; how a friend of a friend’s uncle had been in the passenger seat when the air bag deployed without warning and killed him. It wasn’t that I believed him, but I could always imagine that I was that friend of a friend’s relative: I could picture my mum telling people how I’d died in a freak accident, and how my death should serve as a warning.
The first time I crashed a car the airbag broke my nose, but saved my life.
I just wanted her to shut the fuck up. I wanted Nina and her eccentricites, Holly and her mouth. I wanted to erase the last three years of my life. I don’t think I realised then how much I loved her. She let me need her, and I did; I don’t know if I can forgive her for that.
The way I remember it, I heard the glass smashing before anything else. I don’t think I even saw her move but to an alcoholic, the sound of a bottle smashing will always command attention. My scotch had spilled out onto the road and lay there glittering.
Fuck, I thought. That’s forty quid down the drain.
Nina once told me that she hated me. She took it back later, but it’s not the kind of thing you can just forget; as much as I tried I just couldn’t stop hearing it.
She’d gone through the windshield like paper, still holding onto my bottle. One of her shoes had gotten caught up in Betty’s beads.
She was my second love, after scotch.