I don’t know about me, but my two widow friends looked hot in their fire suits. And that Saturday, Little Red came back into the pit after standing outside for awhile, and I saw that she was teetering on the edge of some emotion.
“There was a driver out there. A really good-looking driver,” she said, “And he was talking to me, and looked at my outfit, and said, ‘You look cute in that. You really look cute.’”
Hot tears sprung from her eyes, and her fingers flew to her lips to shorten a sob that was already escaping.
It was the first time since her husband had died, that Little Red felt like she was still attractive. She, like the Lady M and I, have all felt a bit like our lives were over, the wear and tear of fighting illness, and grief, having taken a toll on our psyches, and in the lines on our faces, let alone the nagging sense that a big part our spirit, the best part of it, died along with our husbands.
And then, here’s a sunny day, and a good-lookin’ driver sayin’, “You look cute. You look really cute!” Little did that driver know what he did for Little Red.
Back at the hotel, later that night, I downloaded my photos on to my computer, and called over to them, “Come! Look at you two. You guys look like Charlie’s Angels!” I wanted them to see what everyone else was seeing.
The Lady M peered at the photo, and then, it was her turn to get teary. She pulled back, and stood up, “Oh…I look how I used to look. No, really, I…” she sputtered, “I thought I’d never look like that again.” And her tears came.
“I never told you this,” she looked at me, “but when I first met you after your husband died, I was having dinner with my mother afterwards, and I told her, ‘Oh, my God, that’s what I’m going to look like.”
I wasn’t offended. I didn’t look good then. In a earier conversation, the Lady M had already told me that she had thought I looked like a pretty woman – a pretty woman who had just been hit by a truck. I had seen pictures of myself during that time, and I concurred. And as much as I hated those photos, I had to give myself a break , I mean – I had a damn good reason for looking like that.
“I never thought I’d look like myself again,” the Lady M was hopeful. And it wasn’t that she was beautiful in the photo (which she was), but there was a quality of freshness, an alive softness. She looked…innocent. Like nothing really bad had ever happened.
My two beautiful widow friends were seeing that it might be possible to heal in ways they doubted they ever would. And dare we believe, that life itself may yield possibilities for us again?
Sunday morning. We high-tailed it back to the track, and the screaming engines, for the last hours left in the race. It had been a hard one, but the team was hanging in there, strong. We’re in the pit, in our fire suits, and we just had more photos taken of us…The Lady M leaned in to remark to Little Red, and me,
“I’ve had ball gowns I haven’t gotten this much pleasure out of.”
We started to count down the seconds as our “Heart” car raced towards the finish. And when the timer hit “0,” there were cheers, high-fives, and hugs all around. Our car had finished in the top 26! We finished! And with broad smiles, we piled over the wall to admire our battle-scarred car, and take pictures with everyone.
I got to sit in the car.
Monday morning. After another late night, we dragged ourselves to the airport to head back to Houston; a little worse for wear than when we arrived on Friday. But give us widows one good night of sleep, and we are good to go again. On Tuesday morning, we bid adieu to each other, and I smiled as started up my plane to head back to New Mexico. It was a beautiful, rainy day.
I had a good dream last night. And in this dream, I felt…loved.
And I am determined to save up my money to take a driving course.