Staring out the window and watching the man fix our car; I
tried very hard not to be attracted. "He's your type," my mom had said before
giving me the number to a local mechanic, "he has a thick accent. As a matter
of fact, I never have any idea what he's saying." Very funny! Just because most
of the men that turn my crank have accents or otherwise unique-sounding voices,
doesn't mean I'm going fall for it every time.
So as I stood watching this very black man tinker under the hood of our car that wouldn't start, I told myself that he was too short, hadn't even made eye contact when we met and had an accent too thick for even me to muddle through. Besides, he mumbled. But as I watched him look expertly at the foreign bits and pieces that should have been making our car run, I couldn't help but notice how masculine his grease-stained coveralls looked, or how the orange knit hat he wore brought out the red in his dark skin. I was tickled by how comfortable he looked while manipulating plugs and wires and other metal curiosities.
As he headed toward our door, I quickly pinched my cheeks hoping to put a little bit of pretty into my rather plain, extremely white, face. After a few minutes of guessing at his words incorrectly and attempting to make eye contact, I understood that he would have to run into town to get a few parts, and that I could reimburse him once he got the car running. It would cost all I had left, but I wasn't too worried about that since I lived with my mom and my kids were off visiting my sister. I didn't need much money anyway.
After the mechanic left, I started making dinner for my brothers and allowed myself to go back to missing my own boys. I was twenty-three and living with my mom. I was the single mom of three ridiculously adorable boys, and this was my first stint without them. It had been a struggle not to phone my sister every ten minutes. She'd begged to keep them overnight, and my mom had needed to take a trip to Houston (three hours from our home, and where my sister was living) anyway, so it would be perfect! I agreed with mixed feelings. It's always good to have a short break from your kids when they are very little, and it's even more wonderful if they get to connect with an aunt who loves them during that break, but being without my kids, for me, meant not knowing who to be.
Not that staying home with my brothers didn't give me anything to do! All four of my brothers were on the spectrum of autism when they were adopted, and on that day two were still quite autistic, while the other two had come off the spectrum only to become struggling teenagers. So it was in this environment of missing my kids, feeling at once overwhelmed by and proud of my brothers, and slightly like a failed woman who still lives with her mom, that I met a sexy, accented, and single mechanic.
I heard his truck coming up the driveway before I saw it, and headed quickly into the bathroom to put Vaseline on my lips. I haven't worn make-up since my teen years and so making my lips shiny and pinching my cheeks was the best I could do in an attempt to get 'dolled up'.
Not that the mechanic seemed to notice. He just got straight to fixing our car, and once it started purring again, he came to the door to show me a break-down of what each part cost, along with what he expected in labor fees, and handed me the scrap paper he had written it all down on. Our first love note! Math!
I explained that I would have to head into town and find an ATM machine in order to give him his money, and so he gave me directions to his house and I agreed to meet him there.
So now I was still missing my kids, feeling slightly overwhelmed and proud of my brothers, and like a failed woman who lived with her mom, add to that I couldn't help but feel slightly uninteresting and unattractive! Not only had the mechanic not flirted back, but he wouldn't even look in my eyes or relax and let conversation flow comfortably. And on top of all that, my mom had been right! I was attracted to the mechanic! How annoying to have a mom that knows you so well!
By the time I reached the mechanic's street I'd noticed that the car, though now running, didn't seem to have the pick-up I was used to. I vowed to at least be grown-up enough to mention the problem to him (rather than stay quiet and tell my mom later, which was a habit of mine), hopefully redeeming myself at least a little in my own eyes.
I found the house without incident. He had said it would be the one with all of the cars in the lawn, and he wasn't kidding! There were cars, car parts, tools, and tires all over the yard. As I pulled into the driveway I saw the mechanic come out of a small rundown trailer. He was still wearing the orange hat but had pulled the top part of his coveralls down and tied the arms around his waist. The blue t-shirt he wore showed off his strong, dark arms and I could feel my body flutter. Accents are sexy to me, but arms are my Achilles heel. Man, I wished he would look at me!
I pulled out the money and handed it over. He still wouldn't look at me, but I could tell that he was more comfortable here among his own stuff. I mentioned the problem with the car's pick-up and he said something about a fuel filter. He offered to fix it for free right then and there if I had the time.
"My kids are in Houston with my sister, so take all the time you need. When I go home it just makes me miss them more."
For a moment, he looked at me. Not true eye contact, but he actually looked at me. I fluttered. "You have kids?" he asked.
"Oh, yes! Three beautiful boys! My oldest is six, and he's quite a character. I promise my sister will be missing the oddest items when they get home. He steals spatulas and shoe laces--anything he wants to use in some creation he's got going on in his head. And my three-year-old, what a cutie! He's probably sleeping in his black rubber boots and Robin costume. How else can he fight crime in his dreams? And my baby, oh how I miss him! He's just one and a half and the best-behaved little snuggle bug in the world! He almost never cries and when it's time to go to sleep I just put him in his crib and start to sing, any song, and he'll lie down and smile. Sucking on his two fingers like this..." I showed this mechanic how my baby would suck his fingers and realized suddenly that I was making a total dork of myself! I'm sure this man asked me about my kids to be polite, but he had started a flood of emotion and missing and sharing. If you want me to talk your ear off, ask me about my kids, or parenting in general.
However, when I looked at the mechanic, he was looking at me and smiling. And for a moment we actually made true eye contact!