There is a crack in the windshield. No doubt about that. It’s my grandma’s old station wagon. The one where we could pile ten kids and not flinch when the door opened and we all had to grab on to the unlucky cousin closest to the door before he falls out. A mortifying thought to the new standards of parenthood I am now beholden to, but I was a child and nothing appeared unusual. I was sitting in the honor seat, the front, wedged between my grandma and my cousin. My cousin being the oldest, and the one with the dead parents, would always hold the title of ruling grandkid so I always tried to be the best second place. She was the commander of radio and the wind-up crank on the window. I sat in the middle one eye to my grandma’s bright blue clip on earring and one eye watching my cousin purposely open and close the window, most likely to annoy me. I rest my head back and stare at the world coming my way as clouds drift along to the side of the car and focus on the crack in the windshield. The top of the window had a dark blue tint that formed a straight line. It was tinted for the sun, but I am not sure if I knew that yet. The crack knew the answer. It forms a jagged curl around the area where the dark blue tint met the clear glass. My grandma once told me it was caused by a rock, and it was obvious the way it formed a straight line attempting to split the blue and clear glass like the horizon split the sky. We were going somewhere important, but I can’t remember where. I grew up on the boarder of one rusty Ohio town and one rusty Pennsylvania town and there was always this feeling of adventure when we crossed state lines. Leaving Ohio, entering Pennsylvania- like a grand road trip if for only a half hour. The scenery was vague, hills full of green grass and leafy trees. A random house or mobile home would jet out of the hills. A school bus was sitting idle next to an old barn. I wish I had a school bus, I decided, never changing my mind. Maybe one day, I can take a drive in the Pennsylvania tail of the Appalachian Mountains and buy an old bus to take on an adventure. Bus number 11 since it is my lucky number and I was obsessed with numbers and counting and sequences. I was a weird kid, and an even stranger adult. I obsess, I procrastinate, and I stress and hold on to anxiety. Like that crack. I stare at the crack again, really watching it, while I tilt my head back and forth to see the sky through a blue tint, then a clear one. It becomes a game of jump rope for my eyes. My grandma wouldn’t get that crack fixed. She wasn’t that kind of adult.
She was the kind of adult that was always doing something. Some days I would walk into her kitchen to the smell of a warming hot glue gun. She would be sitting at the table under bags of silk flowers, baby’s breath and foam shapes to stick the flower, as she would ribbon into the perfect bow that I could never emulate. She would make these beautiful crafts out of flowers and figurines and sell them at craft shows, way before we ever had Etsy and Pinterest. Other days she had bags of flour and sugar and a table full of cookie dough that we would get to help her roll over clothespins and stuff with cream, and stuffing them into our mouths when she had her back turned, always looking for her lost cup of coffee. The best days where when the house was filled with kids, some of them cousins and the rest were kids she babysat. She wasn’t the kind of adult that had a job, or fancy car. She owned a big, antique house on a hill that would eventually be considered a rough neighborhood and be torn down. She was the kind of grandma that owned an above ground pool and a metal swing set in a yard that was filled with adventure and the smell of lilacs. There was a basement full of crafts and an attic full of toys from when my dad and his siblings were younger.
I would sit in my cubicle; writing ideas on post it notes. I would dream of car rides in cracked windshields, and making crafts to make money as I arrange my spread sheet cell colors into various patterns and schemes. I could make jewelry, I could bake cookies, and I could babysit. I think of all the things I could do to make up for the one thing holding me to this wheeled office chair, my salary. I jot notes in my journal, like someone who was working hard, and dream. I dream of being a house where packs of kids want to play, or of baking cookies with my daughters on a rainy afternoon; I dream of unapologetically piling my kids in the car destined for an adventure. I decide I am not the kind of person who can sit still all day, working long hours to get stuff done way before deadlines. I remember my grandma, and the days I had to take off for her funeral when I was unknowingly pregnant with my fourth child. My grandma was the kind of adult that saved everything. Her car was old, and the windshield was cracked. It could have been that way for months or even years because it didn’t get fixed until it became an imminent problem. That is the kind of adult she was, and that is the kind of adult I am now.
Author: Kristen Taylor
Author Bio: I am a dreamer. And a freelance writer, blogger, bartender and busy mother of 4. I write personal essays on the highs and lows of real life and hope to one day publish a memoir
Link to social media or website: http://cassidymarierose.com