Visiting the car

Seeing my mom’s car was probably the worst thing we’ve done since she died. The traffic investigator warned me several times not to go see it, but everyone warned us about everything and none of it turned out as bad as I thought it would so I didn’t give his warnings much credence. The Tow and Mo people are disorganized as hell though. First they sent me to the wrong facility, then they told me the car wasn’t released from evidence even though two days before they’d told me the car had been released for a long time, when was I going to pick it up? We meant to go see it Tuesday, but I had called and they needed the title and it took us a couple of days to find it.

The car was so smashed up and damaged. Much more than I’d imagined it to be. I thought I was pretty prepared for it after having see the news coverage video of the car after the wreck, but it’d been a long time since I’d seen it, and I had remembered a different image of the car than the one I saw at the tow place.

And there was so much stuff in the car. The officer said there wasn’t anything in it, but he was wrong. There were clothes, her other shoe (which I’d been wondering about when I’d taken her clothes out), makeup, toothbrush, coinpurse. Her glasses. Covered in dried blood. Those were the hardest to see. I thought we had the glasses she was wearing, but those were glasses that must’ve been on her person. These were the glasses she was wearing when she died and they managed not to get broken, but were completely covered in blood.

And there was blood splashed onto the seats and sides of the car, there was blood pooled in the passenger seat, there was blood in the front and back. I just imagined her in the car during the accident. The physical body is just a delicate, fragile thing when compared to a hunk of metal folded in on itself. How do you protect your flesh against crushed metal? Broken glass everywhere. How did her shoe get into the back seat? Did it fly off her foot as the car was rolling over, or did it fall out of the car and they threw it into the backseat as they cleaned up? The back seat, where they threw in the other chunks of car as they must’ve cleaned up the street.

I’d just been talking about how it felt like it was getting too easy. The car, the car ruined it for me. It was a dose of reality for both of us. Sometimes I think Jess is all I have left. My dad’s just as remote as always. And I love him, but he’s distant. Jess is all I have.

Mom in San Diego, CA. 1970

me & jess, ohio.

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