Her Dirty MechanicBy: Bella Love-Wins
Insta Love on the Run, #7
“Sure boss, I'll lock up.” I listen on the business phone line at the back of the auto maintenance service bay as I wait for George, the owner of Smooth Ride Auto, to thank me. I know he won't, but it'd be nice for my boss to surprise me with some gratitude one of these days.
I don't turn him down. Of course, I'm the one locking up the place on a Friday night. I know the drill. Been at it for over two years. I get in at eight a.m., work my ass off for ten to twelve hours a day, every fucking weekday plus Saturdays, and I am usually the last man to leave—even after George calls it a night and rolls out in his pimped up pickup truck.
Not that I have anyone to blame for that. I don't. I volunteered to be here. Working my ass off was my choice. It beats being alone with the thoughts that play on repeat in my head, and the two precious faces that get all too vivid every time my head hits the pillow at night.
But tonight's different. He tells me there's one more customer on the way over to pick up a vehicle. Which means I'm the fucker who has to wait around until they get here, even though I'm already going on twelve hours working with barely a break. Having to stick around is a pain in the ass, but I've got no choice. It's not like I can quit and go work on Wall Street anytime I want. This is the life of a man who's got to earn a living working with his hands and getting dirty for the next dollar.
I wipe the sweat from my brow and swallow the urge to object to these unbearable working conditions, telling him instead that it's no fucking problem—minus the profanity. Then I hang up and make my way back to what I was working on. Maybe by the time this slow as fuck customer gets here, I'll be done with this fiery red 1969 ZL-1 Camaro.
Taking a moment to walk around the car again, I forget all about my brewing anger as I admire its lines and slide the back of one hand along its chrome-accented side panels. See, this right here is what makes this job worthwhile. It's a fucking honor and privilege to work on a piece of automotive history which is why I don't just perform the lube job listed on the service order. Hell no. A car like this, I may never have another chance to appreciate up close. George doesn't mind either. He encourages us to give the customers a few extras for free, which keeps some of them coming back for more in a section of the city where there's an auto shop on every other corner.
So, this beauty's getting the works. Lube change, brake fluid flush, fluid top-ups all round. If I have time, I'll check the tires and tweak the alignment. As I get to the front, I give the hood a pat, then get back down on the rolling creeper seat to finish the line flushes I started working on from the underbody. The service form says that the owner of this masterpiece won't be here until tomorrow morning, and it'll be one less thing to do when I get in for my Saturday shift.
I head out of my real estate brokerage office thinking I should have left hours ago. Like Trent, my business partner, who took an afternoon flight to his annual summer weekend retreat with the boys. The only reason I stayed was because three of my realtors brought in tough as nails potential buyers who needed extra hand-holding to make a final decision. All three of the buyers followed through on their offers, so if they all are accepted by the sellers, that’ll help the bottom line for our office. In a way, I can’t blame Trent for leaving me to handle it all. He booked his scheduled flight to paradise weeks ago.
Too bad I can’t say the same thing.
I don’t get to plan ahead the way I used to be able to.
As a widow in my thirties with three sons under eight years old, my plate is full on the home front. On top of that, my father has dementia. It’s the reason the boys and I moved back in with him, so he wouldn’t have to be alone half the time. Don’t get me wrong. I adore my children. Luke, Dylan and little Kyle are the best things that ever happened to me. I can’t picture my life without them. And I feel the same way about Dad. There’s nothing I wouldn’t do for him. The four of them are my whole world. It’s just that everything’s riding on me for so many people, people who are absolutely, one hundred percent dependent on me and truly can’t make it without me. That’s why traveling and making long-term plans don’t factor in as much right now.