It was just one of those kind of mornings.
Waking a bit groggy and sullen. No particular reason, though in hindsight she realized that the size of the moon had its influence on her personal body of water. Hormones surging. That a dose of evening primrose oil would have softened her edge.
But she wasn’t thinking self-care or solutions as she readied herself to drive her husband to the neighbor’s farm. She was only feeling agitation in the kitchen as a case was built for how the day was simply going wrong.
No clean spoons. They were out of milk. The bathroom sink was clogging. Even the tune her husband quietly whistled seemed mocking. An insult to her injury, the notes emanating from his happy throat she used to chastise herself for being anything but cheery.
It was a downward spiral. A world perceived through a lens of negativity. She could feel her husband patiently provide a wider berth, which only served to annoy her further. There were whispers from the far recesses of her mind, cautioning that she was in a state void of reason. Yet, she felt unable to reverse the pessimistic pull.
Once enclosed within the confines of the truck cab, they drove quietly, her moodiness magnified, though her husband smiled, unaffected. She knew she should speak little in her self-imposed state, but logic left her by the second curve in the road.
It was something outlandish. Maybe it was the way he tied the lace of his boot that suddenly signaled to her an immediate need to discuss all things relationship. Who cared that they were five minutes from their destination. That he was readying for a morning of chain saw work in the jungle. They needed a heart-to-heart now. Her eyes filled with emotional tears. They were the moonbeam version of which, only a woman knows. She knew it too, but could not stop herself.
Her spouse was kind but clear. They couldn’t talk about it now. Later, yes. But now, no.
And with that, they approached that big hill. The one on which she always shifted their automatic into second gear, so as to make the climbing easier. Swirling in emotion, her hand reached for the gear shift. The wheels began the incline, her hand moved the gear, the truck came to an immediate halt as the heavy sound of unhappy metal churned from beneath the hood.
She heard the word “Damn!” come from her mouth.
The truck was stopped. Her husband, still calm beside her. They stayed there paused on the sloping hill.
How had her hand mistaken reverse for second gear?
Stalled, the truck still idling, all debris of melancholy, dirty spoons, clogged drains and workboot shoelaces disappeared.
“Did I just break my car?”
“I don’t think so.” He sat there without a trace of judgement as she silently scolded herself for being so careless.
Slowly, she put the truck in drive, testing. The vehicle began moving forward up the hill, as normal. Carefully, she accelerated, listening for any sound of mechanical malfunction. All seemed fine, but she was still uncertain.
“I mean, what damage can be done by putting your car in reverse while it’s driving? I can’t believe I did that. I’m afraid I may have just ruined it.”
She heard him with the slightest smile. “Well, just don’t do it that often.”