Thunder. Just like this time a week ago when my husband left for a bike ride up Old San Antonio Road. I knew I’d need to rescue him. A storm was coming, complete with four separate warnings from the National Weather Service.
He took off. I sat on the front porch to wait for him to text me that he needed a rescue.
It hit all at once. The temperature dropped at least 10 degrees, the wind picked up and blew over a basketball hoop, and the sky turned dark. Hail was surely on its way. I jumped in my son’s truck and headed out.
The truck is named Bessie, and it belonged to my mother-in-law. She had no more use for a ’93 Ford Ranger, so she gave it to us to give to our son when he turns 16 next month. He named the vehicle.
The text came while I was driving. My husband told me to pick him up at the bridge, but we couldn’t agree on the definition of that simple word. I picked the wrong one. Finally, sick of waiting, I drove on and found him about a mile further up the road. It was beginning to rain. Within minutes, it was hailing.
There’s no cover on Old San Antonio. I drove Bessie on, slowly.
When we got to town, my husband said, “We should pull into Sonic and wait it out.”
“No,” I said.
I couldn’t see a thing. It was still hailing. Almost no one was on the road.
Sonic was up ahead.
“We really should pull in,” my husband said.
“I just want to get home,” I said. Home was another three miles.
Down Main. Right on Elk. Left on Travis. Right on Llano, which was flooding, even in the center. A huge truck sprayed me, and I couldn’t see.
Left on Driftwood. Almost home. And I forgot that every street in the neighborhood drains into Driftwood. It’s a river all the way up to the truck’s tires.
Right on Ridgewood and just feet from the stop sign to my own beloved Crestwood, Bessie died.
“The engine’s flooded. Ease her on over to the curb,” my husband said.
It kept raining. For days. It hasn’t rained like this since 2007. It cleared on Saturday and Sunday. Gorgeous.
We had Bessie towed Monday, and the mechanic said it’s over. We’d have to replace the engine, and even a rebuilt one costs many times more than the truck.
And then we had to tell our son.
My husband said it was all his fault for taking that bike ride, which, incidentally, is exactly what I thought last Monday night. But I don’t think that anymore. All I can think is that I’m the stubborn idiot who would not pull into Sonic. I think of all the happy mommy bloggers and how they haven’t murdered their only son’s only truck.
I picked my son up from the place where he works out after working out at school.
“What’s wrong?” he said.
“Nothing,” I lied.
“Is it me?”
He ran through every person and situation I could possibly be mad at. I tried to change the subject. He wouldn’t budge. I pulled into the driveway. Safe inside, I admitted it.
“I killed Bessie,” I said.
“I know. It’s OK.”
I started to cry.
He walked away.
I stopped—fast—and followed after him. “No, really. It’s my fault. I’m sorry. We can’t fix it, but we’ll get you something.”
“It’s OK, Mom.” He reached out to hug me, and he was totally sweaty in his Lehigh University T-shirt, and I let him.
“I’m really, really sorry,” I said.
“You know what this means,” he said.
He smiled. “Leverage.”