“What the fuck was that dude!? Turn around!” As we busted a bitch, my heart was pounding against my chest and a grin so wide, I’m sure there were a few bugs getting snagged between my teeth.
We roared up to Kenny’s Victorian house smack dab along Route 6, our hair every which way from the cruise towards Ottawa. “S” & I took this ride almost every weekend from a small town just outside Joliet, llinois.
This was the first time I had ever spotted The Van.
I walked up the wrap around porch, contemplating my sanity. I knocked a few times….Stass, what the fuck are you doing? “Hi, I wanted to take a look at that…thing you have in your front yard.” He smiled, his grin as wide as mine as just a few moments ago.
Kenny was pumped to show me The Van, giving me a brief story of how she came to be in the middle of his yard. It was once his spouse’s grandparents and eventually became a playhouse for the following generations.
She smelled, she was ugly, she was beat up. She was all around a hot mess. Beneath the water stains and dirt, I saw her beauty. She was perfect.I had actually had my eyes on a gorgeous BMW. That’s the girl who I thought I wanted to be, the one with the sexy import. Can you imagine? Me….with an import? Jesus fucking Christ. I bet my hair would be blonde now, a gel coat on my nails, and a fake tan making me resemble an Oompa Lumpa.
I made him an offer, well “S” actually did. I had just gotten a tax return, a large one, as a result of a previous employer claiming all my tips. Thanks B.H. I had half of what Kenny was asking and a shot “S” the look of death when he offered him half of what he was asking. I didn’t want to insult the guy, I knew how much this meant to him.
The next week was spent of daydreaming about van life ; the sunsets we would watch, the people we would meet at long forgotten bars, the oceans we would dip in. A way out. Anywhere, but here.
The phone rings. “Hey, so I’ve been thinking about your offer. If you want her, she’s yours.”
Fuck. Do I want her? What would I do with her.
I do this a lot, impulsive decisions. It has gotten me pretty damn far, hasn’t it?
On June 27, 2011 I went back to the place where I first laid eyes on The Van and forked over $2,000. She was ours. She was the 2nd vehicle I have ever owned, but the first I had bought myself. “S” bought me a 1976 El Camino back when we lived in Phoenix, but that’s a different story for a different day.
Dad had to drive her home. She was missing a grommet from the filler tube, so there was a gas can hooked up straight to the fuel line under the passenger seat. The brakes were in need of a good bleeding. Who am I kidding? She was big and I’m small. I was too scared. I didn’t feel too bad when we got back to Dad’s and he said he almost shit himself a couple of times.
As I followed Dad through the back roads to our house, I was in disbelief at what I had done. I didn’t know shit about wrenching on cars and this was one hell of a project to take on. Was I actually going to live in this thing? Was this just another one of my dreams I would completely fail at?
Over the next year and a half, I spent every waking moment working on The Van.
The daydreaming never ceased and grew into a fucking obsession. I would talk about her to anyone who would listen. I had paint permanently stuck in my hair, cuts all over my body, and bruises that looked more painful than they actually were. I don’t think anyone actually every believe me, not even “S’’, hell, not even me.
The January after I bought The Van, I found myself peeing on a white, plastic stick. As I sprayed urine all over the place, I began daydreaming of the complete opposite of the past seven months; diaper changes, late nights, school, stretch marks, saggy tits. As the colors on the stick slowly appeared, it became a reality. I was going to be a mom.
As I write this, my lips are quivering, tears streaming down my face, and an uncontrollable feeling of guilt. This was actually the third time I had been pregnant, all by “S’’, with the first two being aborted. I thought well, third time is a charm.
We decided it was time to grow up, at the tender age of twenty-three. The next six weeks were no longer filled with paint schemes, sanding down surfaces, demolition, or nailing. There were doctor’s visits, legs spread, wands getting shoved up my twat, morning nausea, fighting, pizza cravings, and baby name picking. Even in all the chaos, I was still dreaming of The Van. I would sit on my father’s couch, my hand on my stomach, looking out the bay window, and stare at The Van. She looked so alone out there. She was like a wild horse who had been caught and forced in captivity. So was I.
Something was wrong, I just knew it. Another doctor’s visit confirmed my theory: I had miscarried. I was at six weeks when I should have been at eleven. I screamed at the nurses and doctors who had swarmed the room, my legs still wide open. “Just fucking get it out of me!” They said I could let it happen naturally. Fuck that.
I’ll never know the reason why my baby never became a part of this beautiful world, I can only guess. Around the time “S” blew his load, I had been heavily using a primer which had been known to cause birth defects, cancer, miscarriage, and infertility. I never bothered reading the label and only did months after. I recall begging “S’” to assist me with the painting. He never did. I secretly blamed him, for had he helped me, our baby might be alive.
After that, our relationship went sour like wine to vinegar. It was a slow process, but when it happened, boy, did it taste like shit. I was empty inside, lost, and confused. All I had was The Van and all she had was me. Together, we spent every waking moment, together. I was on a mission to get the fuck out of the place I once called home.
I did. Somehow, someway, I grew a set of balls. After another (short-lived) relationship with “S’’ and yet another blow out, I decided it was time to go. From the day of this decision to the day I left, was a womping two days. I burned shit, sold shit, threw away shit, packed shit, and threw shit at any mirror and wall in sight. When there was no more shit, I left.
I didn’t plan this life, it just happened. I believe it is the only way to travel and why I am still on the road. I didn’t have a route, a length of time to “finish”, a set itinerary of places and people to see. I just let the road take me, I had nothing left to lose. For the first time in my life, I was “just being”. I spent most of my life broken and without a spirit. The Van spent 20 years locked away in a garage, just wanting to be loved. I needed her and she needed me.
As I sit here, three years later to the date of love at first sight, I look around me, almost for the first time. She’s filled with color now, but still a bit rough around the edges. She was once told she would never go again. No one believed she would ever make it this far. That’s why I love her. I’m her, she’s me.
Happy 3rd Anniversary Babe.