My father used to say that every time he mowed the lawn he’d find another car. That came out to roughly one car per year. They were all junkers, but the RV was junk royalty. He spotted her the night we sat in the bright red vinyl booths of Seven Seas Szechuan. She was alone and askew in the Shanty Tavern’s lot, her brown paneling echoing the bar’s sign that showcased an outhouse for an emblem. She deserved better. He had to save her.
To my mother, his motives were clear. Her narrowing eyes were fixed on my father, and their intensity steeped the air. I could feel the mounting stress that accumulated behind her brow. Her lips pursed in silent protest.
She saw his engorged pupils drooling, pouring, out the window. The slow steam that rose from the massive, glistening bowl of egg drop soup, created a delicate, dewy veil that cocooned him with his newfound vision. She melted. How could she disrupt that childlike ecstasy so often far removed from the man she had married? He was making the same face her children endlessly deployed to turn her heart to humbow.