I once had a little 1989 Dodge Dakota. It was my second car but the first one that I paid for with my own heard-earned money. A little 90-something year-old man was the previous owner. Can you believe it, a single-owner pickup – that was older than me – and it only had 80-some thousand miles on it.
I was so proud of it. It had a bench seat upholstered in this atrocious maroon faux-suede/velvet fabric. Original floor mats and everything; it was in mint condition. It also had a topper. But I loved it. I loved to drive it – it rode so smooth. I loved that when Javier and I would ride together in it when we were first dating, we could sit really close to each other – ’cause, you know, puppy love. The bed of the truck was carpeted in this 70’s style carpet and it had a little couch that converted into a bed – the arm rests became the pillows. I actually re-upholstered the couch and bought a carpet remnant to match that wasn’t so orangey-green.
It took me to and from college and work for nearly three of my four years. I could eat and study in the back during my lunch breaks. It got good gas mileage too, which was great for my poor-broke-college student self. I had a lot of fond memories of that little truck.
When I was pregnant with Sylas, I bought a Jeep. The little bench seat of the truck just wasn’t going to work for a family. So I gave the little black Dodge to my youngest brother. He needed a vehicle to go to school and I wasn’t using it anymore. It felt good that it would still be in the family and I’d still see it from time to time.
July 29, 2014. I remember so vividly. I got a phone call from my mom as I was on my way home that day. Mom was hysterical telling me that my brother had an accident. She told me where he was and wanted me to meet her there. He had been driving down a gravel road and hit some washboards, causing him to careen into a small creek. The truck flew through the rails of the bridge, – if you can call them rails, more like two-by-fours nailed together – nose-dived into the creek and came to rest on its top on the embankment.
Miraculously, my brother survived that accident. He was able to crawl out of the passenger-side window. He did have to return to the cab to retrieve his phone to call for help but, amazingly, it was right where he left it – it didn’t budge during the accident. Once the truck was towed from the creek and we could all see the damage that had been done, we were all stunned to find that the roof of the cab had been smashed from the impact, right where my brother’s head should’ve been.
He told us that he had a feeling that he was going to crash, so he laid down across the bench seat as the truck went over the bridge. My brother was very shaken from the accident. Scared doesn’t even cut it. My poor mother got a head full of gray hairs that day too.