Silly Stories

The stories here are written in response to writing prompts. You'll find a bit of silliness, and I hope you might even laugh a bit when you read them. These impromptu stories are always fun to write. Enjoy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

In the Driver's Seat

Welcome to my blog and to my "Tuesday's Tales" contribution for the week. When I read the prompt -- car -- an idea immediately came into my head. So, instead of continuing with "Love Spells" this week, I jotted down this short little story. I hope you enjoy it.

Be sure to check out the rest of Tuesday's Tales! Just CLICK HERE.

In the Driver's Seat

Margaret Beaumont opened the door of the old Buick roadster and slid inside. She stared at the bewildering array of levers, knobs, and gauges spread out before her. For the first time in her life she was sitting in the driver’s seat. Her heart pounded. She struggled to catch her breath. She’d lived more than a half-century without learning to drive. A half century plus a decade! At age sixty, maybe this wasn’t such a good idea.

“I don’t think I’m ready for this.” She reached for the door and she probably would have bolted had her instructor not placed a hand on her arm.

“Don’t worry, Maggie. We’re not going driving quite yet. I just want you to get familiar with the car and the controls.” He smiled, and when she nodded, he leaned toward the driver’s side. “Horn,”he said, placing a big, callused hand on the center of the wheel. “Wipers. Lights. Fuel gauge." His voice droned on as he pointed from one gadget to the next.

How would she remember it all? And what about those pedals on the floor? Was she supposed to know how to work them, too? Sweat beaded on her forehead. She pressed a hand to her brow, worried that she might faint at any moment.

Closing her eyes, she tried to remember all the things George used to do before they set off on a trip to town. Her late husband had been a cautious fellow, always concerned for their safety on the road.

“What about the tires?” Margaret opened her eyes and turned toward the man in the passenger seat. Charley Fisher was more than her driving instructor. He’d been George’s best friend for thirty years, and he’d now become her greatest comfort and her source of strength. With George gone, she’d come to depend on Charley. “George always checked the tires,” she told him. “He checked something under the hood, too.”

“Oil. Water." He flashed her another smile. “I’ve already checked things out. The car’s in great shape. It’s ready to roll.”

“You’re sure? I mean, well, it is an old car."

"A classic. 1952. It was a good year."

"Yes, I suppose so." Margaret blushed. She'd been born in 1952. Did that make her a classic, too? "But it's been sitting in the garage for nearly two years. Ever since ..." Ever since George passed away. Margaret sighed. She’d come to terms with losing her husband, had adapted to widowhood as well as any woman could --except for one thing.

She couldn’t drive. Which meant she couldn’t go across town to visit the grandchildren without a harrowing taxi ride or hours wasted waiting at one bus stop or another. She couldn’t go into town to even pick up bread or milk without imposing on a neighbor, or calling Charley and asking for his help. He never seemed to mind. In fact, he said he enjoyed the company. He’d lost his wife ten years before, and he probably did get a little lonely.

Still, that didn’t give Margaret the right to inconvenience him, nor did it mean she should take advantage of his kind-hearted nature. That’s why she had to learn to drive. Even at her age, she could become one of those “independent” women, couldn't she? The sort who didn’t need a man around to solve every problem, a woman who could make her own way in the world. Or if not in the wide, wide world, at least across town once in a while.

“Trust me, Mags, the car is fine. It’s all legal, too. Tags are current, and --"

“What about insurance? There’s no coverage. I stopped paying the premiums when George died.”

Charley leaned back in his seat. “Actually, I’ve been keeping the insurance payments up even though nobody’s been driving this old roadster. It hasn’t cost much.” His gray eyes twinkled. “Guess George never told you that he signed the title over to me when he got sick.”

“He did what?”

“Signed the car over to me. Asked me to look after it, take care of it, you know.”

Margaret smiled. She could easily imagine her husband doing such a thing. He loved the old roadster. He knew, too, that she had no use for the fancy automobile.

“Why haven't you taken it? I mean, it's yours. You shouldn’t leave it sitting in my garage. You could be driving it, getting some use out of it.”

“What about you?” he asked. “There are places you want to go, things you want to do. It's not too late, Maggie." He reached out and placed a hand over hers. "I’m not just talking about driving, you know.”

She stared down at their wrinkled hands, mesmerized by the way his long fingers stroked hers, moving slowly back and forth. His touch felt warm and reassuring...but strangely exciting at the same time.

“I don’t understand,” she whispered. “What are you saying?”

“I’m talking about life. About two people who’ve found themselves alone now. Two people who’ve known each other for a long time. Two people who’ve come to care about each other.”

Margaret leaned back against the upholstered seat. George had taken very good care of this car. He'd loved it, cherished it. He’d taken very good care of her, too.

Now, the roadster belonged to Charley. He would cherish it as George had done. And what of her? Had Charley truly come to care for her? As much as she cared for him? She'd never dared admit her feelings until now -- not even to herself.

She closed her eyes. “Have you ever read about dreams, Charley?” She didn’t wait for him to answer. “Years ago, I bought a book about dream symbols. George thought it was all rather silly."

"Dreams do have meaning, I think."

"According to the book, if you dream about being in a car, it symbolizes going places in life, moving on, that sort of thing.”

“Might be some truth to that.”

“What’s really important, though, is who’s in the driver’s seat.”

“At the moment, that would be you.” His hand tightened over hers. “You’re in control, Maggie.”

She nodded. She was in the driver’s seat, and it was time now for her to move on. But not alone, not as some independent woman who had no need for others. She needed people, needed her children and grand-children, and most of all, she needed Charley in her life.

“I think I’m ready.” She drew in a deep breath. “It’s a little scary, Charley, but I want to learn to drive,” she said, opening her eyes and turning toward him. “I want to learn to live. Will you show me how?” As she spoke, each leaned toward the other. Their lips met in a tender, tentative kiss.

“There’s nothing to be afraid of, Maggie. We’ll take it slow,” he whispered.

She sighed. Being in the driver’s seat felt good. She could make choices, could determine the direction of her life. And Charley would always be at her side.

Margaret looked down at the seat. Even though the car was a classic, vintage 1952, George had been a stickler for safety. He'd installed all the necessary safety devices.

“Better fasten your seat belt,” she warned. A wicked grin spread across her face.

-- The End --

I hope you enjoyed this story. If you did, please leave a comment. And don't forget to check out the rest of the stories and excerpts in this week's "Tuesday's Tales". CLICK HERE to return.


  1. Great story, Christina. I really enjoyed this charming read.

  2. I'd like to take a ride in the vintage 1952, with or without seat belts. You took us on a lovely adventure.

  3. Now that is such a sweet story.

  4. Terrific story, Christina! I loved the metaphor and the way you pictured two older people still falling in love. It was beautiful.

  5. Always love your writing and this is no exception.

  6. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to read this little story. I'm glad you enjoyed it. It was a fun story to write.