Tomorrow, you will come for me, you will pry me open, rip out pipes, radiator, battery, pull off my steering wheel, pluck mirrors, yank windows, haul the best of my organs for sale, scatter the rest of my body parts in four corners of the country. Disemboweled, dismembered, disembodied, a carcass for vulturous junkyard collectors, left to the device of compactors, no pity from my Owner who’ll count the dollars exchanged with the hand of my executioners, while his new SUV awaits his hands on her wheel, but know there’ll always be a small shred of me left alive, maybe a tire will find its way to the arid plain of Zimbabwe at the end of a balsam branch, pushed by a lonely child in a game of chase with a donkey and chickens, maybe my frame will support a new body, serve another owner, know that even when my steel bones are picked clean and left on a landfill, my metal will live on to hundreds of years and watch your kind decompose to the end of time.
But tonight, I breathe the country air, satiated with a half-full tank and parked on the grass, I listen to the thunder, wait for the rain to wash my muddied tires, feel the first drops kiss my bonnet, drizzle snaking through windshield, hood, head lights, revel in the cleansing downpour, remember dent and scratches of my body, a dimple in my rear from hitting a pole when my Owner shouted angrily at his wife, scrapes on my right when their daughter drove too close to a wall for her failed driving lesson, remember the history we had, my silver shell once loved, caressed by fingers trailing on my side, soaped from top to bumpers, dried with velvety care, remember how my Owner took me for a spin under the sun the first time, wind brushing my windshield, we rode valleys and mountains, he tapped my wheel to the rhythms of bright songs of love blasting through the radio, remember I was once wanted, trusted, relevant, remember the transient value of my existence, all that could end with a change of heart.
Christine H. Chen was born in Hong Kong and grew up in Madagascar before settling in Boston. Her fiction work has been published or forthcoming in Boston in 100 Words, Tiny Molecules, Gone Lawn, The Pinch, CRAFT, Hobart, and other literary journals. Her work was longlisted in the June 2022 Bath Flash Fiction Award, and she is a recipient of the 2022 Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship.