My car honked softly

Because I was driving, I had circled around the block slowly, finding clear, defined spots. No sudden movements. No crazy U-towns across the middle of the street. I remember my friend remarking after we drove past an open spot in front of our destination on College Avenue more than ten years, “I would have swerved into that spot.”

Hmm, I said thoughtfully. But that day, I found a spot at the corner and reversed into it. Turning the wheels and the brakes. All set.

Then we went to see a movie. On the way out, we chatted with our friend about the movie. What did they not show in the movie? Why didn’t they show any of the abuse of women? I loved that song and kept listening to it growing up even though my mom hated it.

Chris unlocked my car, and it softly honked. In 2004, my parents decided to buy a new car and I came with them. When my dad couldn’t make it to the final negotiation meeting for the sale, I was present with my mom. The salesman said, “A security alarm would be perfect for the car! You’ll never know! And it decreases the insurance premium.”

Despite not even paying the money for the car, I piped up, “What a good idea! We should do it.”

My mom gave me a look, but she didn’t have the ability to negotiate out of it anymore.

And in turn, a third-party car alarm was added to the 2004 Toyota Corolla. And my parents said, scolding me, “The car alarm is your graduation present.”

More than ten years later, I returned to Van Ness and Ellis to hear the recognizable soft honk. The kind that meant that the alarm was set off. The kind that honked when I returned to my car after work to find that the windshield was cracked. And again one week later to find that the windshield cracked again after a repair. And the kind that surprised me after a holiday party near 17th and Folsom just last December to find that two windows was broken and that someone stole a GPS and pens. A few days, I saw that the rear wing window was broken and that the UPS receipts was crumpled and tossed on the ground of my car.

My friend brushed the glass onto the asphalt. Nothing else was taken. Not my sunglasses. Not the garage opener. “I think that he probably got scared,” Chris said. “Maybe someone interrupted him.”

A him, always.

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