Pathetic in All This Moonlight
Dad drove a casual jalopy and there wasn’t anything we could do about it. Mom left him after she sold her first romance novel and so he sold his Suburban. He bought an old car just so he could act it like he’d owned it for years. He loved the old car and we were very frustrated by it. My brother asked girls to pick him up. I didn’t hate the car, I just hated the way my dad enjoyed the car. My sister asked my brother how to break a car engine.
“Run it without oil; crack the block,” he said, “but just you wait. You do that, dad will crack down the middle, too.” She drained all the oil and ruined one of her favorite Hollister shirts to crush our balding father. I watched her and fiddled with a vice in the garage. She looked up how to drain oil on the internet and found dad’s crescent wrench. She said fuck a lot while she was doing it.
Dad was grinning when he picked us up the next day. The car still ran as it always had. My sister hid her shock. She looked at me and I said what. Her fingers were still a little dirty. They were evil fingers.
I remember the way my mom’s fingers looked when she handed dad her ring and cocked her head to one side and said sorry. My sisters’ fingers turning the plug on the oil pan had the same carefree and clumsy toss to them. When everyone was asleep I changed his oil. When I was done I put all the empty bottles around me in a circle. I sat cross-legged and looked at my blackish hands.
“Everything is pathetic in all this moonlight,” I thought.