Going Convertible

Funny the memories that stick with you from childhood… This one’s been tucked away since I was a little girl. I’m riding in the back seat of a convertible. My hair is flying back and whipping around, slapping my face. The concussion of the wind makes my eyes squint and water, and tickles my eardrums. I can’t see the car, or even who’s driving. And I have no recollection of where we went. I do remember the feeling of the smile on my face and the sensation of being filled to bursting with sheer exhilaration.

Fast forward about forty years.

Being the safety-conscious nut that I’ve become, I’ve never owned a convertible. My nod to the joy of wind has been Sun Fishes and sun roofs. I like my sailing boats quickly maneuverable. And I like my cars with sun roofs — even if it means I have to choose this over a better sound system. When I’m riding in a car, wind is the only song I enjoy listening to, and it’s always playing in high quality stereo.

For the past week, we’ve been stuck in a sweltering heat wave. It’s the kind of heat that makes you drip sweat just standing still. Cait asks if we can buy an air conditioner; she’s had enough.

I have a better idea. I grab her and make a bee-line for the car. She’s happy to think we’re off to the store. When I turn in the opposite direction she gives me a quizzical look. She knows I’m up to something.

“You want to go convertible?” I ask with a smile working at the corners of my mouth.

“We’re going to buy a convertible?” She sputters with astonishment.

Knowing that I’m capable of doing crazy things on the spur of the moment, it’s not a totally unreasonable question for her to ask.

“Now why would I want to buy a convertible when I already have one?” My fingers are resting lightly on all the buttons…

Cait looks at me with raised eyebrows — like I’ve gone mad from the heat.

“Contact,” I shout, and lower all the windows front and back, while opening the sun roof to full-capacity.

The wind rushes in and around us, and Cait and I both start laughing.

Her hair is flying back and whipping around, slapping her face. Her eyes are squinting and watering. I know the concussion of the wind against her eardrums is making them tickle, because I feel that same tickling in mine. And I know well that look of sheer exhilaration as it fills her.

“Mom, this is going in my Happy Box.”

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