CAR CONCENTRATE

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In the middle of my big empty living room, between the scuffed leather couch and an ancient stereo I still use to play my scratched-up old blues albums, there sits a compressed metal block. It’s red with a white stripe running through it. And when the sunlight hits that block at just the right angle, the glare that comes off it honestly dazzles. The thing itself is not a table – despite the countless times I set stuff on top. And there isn’t a person that drops by the house that doesn’t ask me about it. Every time I come back with a different answer: depending on my mood, and depending on who’s asking.
Sometimes I say, ‘It’s something from my father.’ Sometimes, ‘It’s one hefty hunk of memory.’ And sometimes, ‘It’s a ‘68 Mustang convertible,’ or ‘It’s shining, red vengeance,’ or even, ‘It’s the anchor that holds this whole house in place. If it wasn’t right there, everything would’ve floated up into the sky long ago.’ And then, sometimes, all I say is: ‘It’s art.’ Men always try to lift it and never succeed. Women mostly touch it tentatively with the backs of their hands, as if taking the temperature of a sick kid. And if one of those women goes and touches it with the palm of her hand, if she runs her fingers along the side, and says something like, ‘It’s cold,’ or ‘That feels nice,’ I take it as a sign to try and get her in to bed.

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http://www.granta.com/New-Writing/Car-Concentrate

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