Rose didn’t like parallel parking. Rear view and side mirrors on her Ford Focus weren’t a realistic perspective. She wondered how objects could be closer than they appear, scraped aluminum wheels and shaved rubber from the curb, and put the back end too close to the truck behind her. She heard her ex-husband’s barks in her mind: “Don’t get too close”, “Watch it!
Watch it!”, or “Where the hell did you learn to parallel park?”
Rose didn’t like getting out of the car downtown, where no one obeyed the speed limit and flung up leaves and debris street sweepers missed in their nightly cleaning. She was afraid the door might get torn off. She’d seen it in an insurance commercial or a pizza delivery commercial, but couldn’t recall which. When her prosthetic leg became unhinged, she lost control, the car lunged forward from the weight of the wooden foot and leg pressing down on the pedal. Tires spun created smoke and the smell of burned rubber until the Focus leaped the curb and shattered the plate glass window of the beauty salon.
It didn’t occur to Rose to push the gear knob into park or switch the ignition off. People on the sidewalk gasped and ran, and most of the customers in the salon jumped out of salon chairs and scurried to the back of the salon. Riddled with diabetes, Rose had lost most of her right leg and foot, but her weight hadn’t really decreased like they said it would, and her blood sugar levels had continued to rise. Most people couldn’t tell she even had a prosthetic leg. They focused on her teased hair, her clanking jewelry, and her horned spectacles.
Rose made up her mind she would check the newer prosthetic devices made from carbon or plastic if Medicare would cover the cost, and she decided she’d never parallel park again even if it meant finding another salon.
Niles Reddick is author of the novel Drifting too far from the Shore, two collections Reading the Coffee Grounds and Road Kill Art and Other Oddities, and a novella Lead Me Home. His work has been featured in eleven collections and in over two hundred literary magazines including The Saturday Evening Post, PIF, New Reader Magazine, Forth Magazine, Cheap Pop, With Painted Words, among many others.