Friday, May 15, 2009

Repairing a Life, by Glen Cornell

Willy hopelessly awoke to the incarnation of his alarm clock and the crying of a baby in the room next to him. As he rolled over in bed to get up he noticed that his girlfriend Espera had already woken from bed, probably in search for something to eat in the kitchen. Painfully he heaved each of his pant legs up to his torso and dragged into the kitchen, ignoring the constant cry of his child. There was no sign of Espera other than a cold plate with remnants of gallo pinto, (left over from god knows when,) next to a cup of coffee that had meant to be consumed an hour ago. Coins were missing from the table, a sign that his girlfriend hadn’t felt the need to take the morning hike to work. As he sat down to eat her leftovers he nearly slipped on a puddle of oil gathering under the constant drip of a wrench on the counter. More smoke stained tools lay askew throughout the residence. Only a few more bites left for breakfast; the baby had exhausted itself from the crying, given up hope, and fallen back to sleep. Although he cared much for the infant, he couldn’t help but resent it for the position it had left them. After being kicked out from house to house he and Espera had no choice but to find their own place, a beat-up section of a home in a back alley of Sabanilla.

As he stepped outside to take a look at his small neighborhood, he couldn’t help but notice his two projects, taunting him at the end of the driveway. Every day he had put all his efforts to bring them back to life, to redeem some sense of hope. Willy felt that if somehow he could bring back those Volkswagen beauties it could revive some form of hope in his own life. Before beginning the endless daily toils, Willy walked back inside to gather his tools. A few screwdrivers were missing, washers of all sizes, and some things he hadn’t seen in so long he couldn’t hope to remember their names or use. Over a year ago a fire that had taken half of his possessions and workshop all in one night’s blaze. No one knew how it had started but all Willy cared was that it left him here, in that back alley of a community toiling away at the hopeless remains of what had once been a fine automobile.

He stood there staring at the two cars for a moment, trying to remember where he had left off. The sky blue bug with the leather interior and classic dash was his main priority. He and Fernando had always talked about the things they’d be able to do, the trips they would go on and the places they could see in that car. Now it was up to Willy and his hands. He pulled his hair back into a knot to prevent it from being caught in the gears, revealing a long deep scar across the side of his face. Bending to one knee he opened the hood and began to work.

Although he had the appearance of a gruff premature 22 year-old, his hands worked with the softest elegance. An onlooker would have no idea of the constant complicated procedures Willy underwent, but could still admire from his demeanor. For hours he hopelessly worked each and every day, but today he felt that there may have been some progress. As the sun came high into the sky he sat in the seat of the car and began to sip an Imperial, rewarding himself for a brief moment. Through the heat he thought he envisioned Espera far up the drive, returning from work with the child Gabrial in her hands. As the image drew closer he dreamt of the life they wanted to live together; a 2 story home on 10 acres near the coast in Guanacaste. Still in his daydream he took the keys from his pocket and almost in a trance slipped them into the ignition with a twist. A sputter shot and the car shook for a brief moment.

There was still hope.

Based on a true story

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