The Sedan

by Tom MAHONY
 

who has a new novel.

She was a gorgeous twenty-something who drove one of those bland sedans that seemed to be used exclusively as a rental car or government fleet vehicle. It was inconceivable that someone under the age of seventy-five would purchase such a car of their own volition. And the sedan wasn’t cool in an ironic or retro way. It was just a piece of crap. Yet she drove it, and I couldn’t stop thinking about her.

She had a keen sense of style that was evident even as she drove past. She wore scarves and gloves and hats and other accessories that weren’t functionally necessary in a mild climate, yet conveyed a certain hip-ness. Gorgeous women were everywhere. Generic sedans were everywhere. It was the combination that had me hooked. She was what I’d been waiting for all these years.

She drove down my street at the same time every day. One day, I got in my car and followed her. I tailed from a distance like I’d seen cops do on television. She maneuvered through the neighborhood and onto a country road. The landscape became increasingly remote. There were no other cars around, and it became more difficult to remain stealth.

Abruptly, she pulled off the road, stepped from her car, and flagged me down. Busted. I cruised to a stop behind her. She walked over and I rolled down the window.

“Why are you following me?” she said.

I shrugged. “I’m just fascinated that such a beautiful and stylish woman would drive such a lemon.”

“It was my grandfather’s car. And I drive it because it reminds me of him.”

“Oh,” I said. “That’s a relief. I was worried that you’d actually bought that car voluntarily.”

“You’re sort of nosy,” she said, “about this car. Why do you care?”

“Because I’m attracted to you physically. When I see a beautiful woman I can’t help but fantasize about her. You know, in a romantic way. But you’re at a whole different level. You’re the A-list celebrity in my fantasy file.”

“You’re pretty blunt,” she said. “Do you always talk to people like this?”

“I don’t talk to people much at all. I’m sort of a recluse, especially with women, but I’m trying to change that. You might say I’m out of my comfort zone here.”

“Well,” she said, “you’re going about things the wrong way. Following me is creepy. Try to meet me the normal way, by getting drunk and groping me in a bar.”

“Oh, okay. That’s good to know. Thanks for the heads up.”

“I hang out at Frank’s Booze Bin on weekends. Maybe I’ll see you there.”

“Yes,” I said. “Definitely.”

She got in her sedan and drove off.

I went to Frank’s that weekend, but she wasn’t there. And she stopped driving down my street. I think she took an alternate route to avoid me. She must have been more creeped out by my ill-advised following than she’d let on. If only I’d known to get drunk and groping at Frank’s. For weeks I cursed my faux pas. I seemed not to have the magic touch with women.

So I returned to my routine of watching television and staring out the window. The house felt empty now, my television shows pointless. I’ll never forget her, or that sedan. It was a one in a million combination. But I’ll keep waiting and hoping that I’ll see her again.

Maybe again, someday.

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