It’s another flash in the pan, sent to me by Anne R. Allen …
“She wasn’t like the others.”
The Car …
Rosie sat at the conference table, her hands folded in her lap. She saw Ira’s mouth moving. “Rosie, did you hear me?”
The pounding in her ears subsided and she realized her attorney had been talking to her. “No, actually, I didn’t.”
“Have you made a decision about the car?”
The car, the car, the car … the words echoed in her brain. He never cared about me at all. All he cared about was that lousy car. “Get one more postponement.” She grabbed her purse and rushed to the door. “I can’t do this today. Postpone until next week. I’ll know by then.”
Benny Petrucci was a smart man and not prone to emotional outbursts. He had made a fortune on his will and cunning. He actually admired Rosemary. She had found all the ways he “cooked” the books, hid revenue and falsified invoices. She knew all the links with each of his businesses and their actual wealth. He looked at the numbers again impressed she was so close to the mark.
“Tell me what she wants to keep this out of the courts, Ira?”
“Considering she worked for free five years, I think you’re getting off easy.” Ira slipped a folder across the table. “She’ll give you her final decision about the car next week.”
Benny took his son Sal for a long drive. “Listen to me and learn something. She wasn’t like the others. This one’s got a brain and she’d got me over a barrel. She has all the numbers and she knows what’s she talking about.”
“Always looking like such an innocent kid.”
“Sal, listen to me. She was smarter than even I thought. You love the other one. I don’t want you having a baby while you’re still married. This business needs to be done fast and outside of the court. Rosemary can have what she wants.”
“But not the car.”
To sweeten the deal Benny included a year-old Chrysler LaBaron. Rosie agreed to surrender the car the end of May and in June she was still giving Sal a hard time.
Sal was waiting for her when she came to pick up her things from their apartment. In fifteen minutes, she came out with two small boxes. “These are yours.” She handed him the keys to the front door and the mailbox. “I’m living in Angie’s house on Benson. The furniture and stuff is yours.”
“No it’s not Sal. None of you ever asked if I wanted or liked one single thing. Like these.” She took the engagement and wedding rings and handed them to him. “None of it was ever mine, not the apartment, the stuff in it or any part of the marriage.”
“What about the car? You know that’s not yours either.”
“And keeping it where you can’t get your hands on it gives me pleasure.” She pointed to her chest. “Me, the stupid kid with no guts and no mouth is not done hurting you.” She put the boxes in her trunk and drove off.
When the marriage of Sal and Rosie had been arranged, the two mothers went to the cousins for the rings and the wholesalers for the furniture. Sal tried to reason with his father. “I love Angie.”
“Angie’s a putana. Marry Rosie, she’s a good girl. I’ll teach her bookkeeping or something.”
He never talked to her about why he didn’t want to have a baby with her, why he refused to share their bed. He left her to sleep with Angie. Rosie did what she was told and worked for his father.
The first time Sal took The Car out of his father’s private garage they drove down to the Jersey Shore. The summer heat was blowing against her face and she gazed out the window, thinking, This is really freedom. Just riding. Getting in and letting a set of wheels take you as far as you can go
She looked over at Sal and was about to tell him they should keep driving all the way down and stay the weekend, but he was off somewhere. She wondered what was in his head when he drove. Did he wish he could keep going and never turn back?
“Make sure you never eat in this car or I’ll crack you.” It was the first and last time they drove in the car together.
A month before Angie was due, mothers once again arranged a marriage. Rose went to Angie’s place and rang the bell. She was big and showing. “Hey, Sal, your X is here.” She rubbed her belly and smiled, “Got a good one in the oven here, Rosie. Bet it’s a boy.”
He came down the steps of the front porch in his bare feet, no shirt and jeans with the top button open. For a moment she took in her breath. She had to admit, he wasn’t that hard to look at.
“Well, well, if this don’t beat all. You talking to me without your mouthpiece?”
“Don’t make this harder than it is.” She held her hand out.
“Here is the ticket and the location for the car. The bill has been paid. You can go and get it anytime.”
“Why are you doing this now?”
“I got what was rightfully mine, what I earned and what I needed to get my life back. Your dad was right. I have no right to that car.” She looked up at Angie and then again at Sal. “You know, when I drove it, I understood why you loved it so much. And now you’ll never get in it ever again without thinking of me.”
Her voice was cracking and she turned her face away quickly to recover. “You never gave me a chance, never told me they did the same to you.”
His face softened and he was able to see why his father admired her for fighting for what was hers. You see, no emotion, just business. Except for the car. She really doesn’t want the car. She took that because of Angie. So she could hurt you.
“The Chrysler is a better car for you. Go to the shop and Dad’ll give you the LaBaron.”
Angie walked down the steps just then, like a territorial animal claiming her prize. “Yeah, yeah, see ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya. The weddin’s in two weeks, don’t wait for your invite.”
Rosemary turned back just for a second and caught a glimpse of them walking back up the steps. She saw how they looked at each other, how he held Angie’s middle, she leaned on his arm.
In the house, Sal kissed her cheek. “You look tired baby. Sit down and put your feet up.” He stood up just then and saw Rosemary driving away. And now you’ll never get in it ever again without thinking of me.
The next day, she went to Benny’s shop and picked up the LaBaron.
Two weeks later, before Fourth of July, Rosie sat for over an hour on the shoulder of the road the way she had dozens of times in the past five years. She shook her hair out, took her shoes off, put the radio on very loud and drove over the Outer Bridge Crossing headed to the New Jersey Shore.
The original owner of the car was Elvis. On the dash board just above the radio was a wooden plaque with gold lettering – Gracie. She was one of his first and always his favorite, but as it was his way he gladly gave it up to a group for a charity auction. Two weeks after The King’s death, Benny paid three times the projected amount.
Cars and romance …
Not exactly a love story or the best kind?
fOIS In The City