*Originally written as a self-reminder to be courageous and to never be afraid of change or 'taking the plunge' -- especially when you want out of a situation. This story also marked a time in my life when I was ready for the reinvention of self, a place I find myself once again.
One of my earliest memories happened when I was about 3 or 4 and I lived in a trailer court in Greenwood, Indiana with my mom and dad. My mom had just parked our green 1970s Nova at someone's mobile home -- if I recall she was dropping something off (Avon, Tupperware order?). She said she would be right back and left me sitting in the front seat.
At the time, leaving your child alone in a vehicle for a minute wasn't a big deal and the thought of putting your child in a seat belt or child safety restraint didn't exist. In those few moments (of sitting alone) I remember suddenly having the urge to put the car into gear ... Just. To. See. What. Would. Happen. It was this urge that both scared and excited me. But, you have to know that as a child I was NO sort of daredevil. I was a complete introvert -- who wouldn't leave her mother's lap if given the option. I was also afraid of my father's wrath. He was a strong patriarchal figure whom I trembled at the thought of crossing.
So there I sat alone with a feeling of wild abandon, the keys dangling in the ignition as I threw the car into gear. I'm pretty sure the ignition was off, but that didn't matter as the car was parked on the top of a sharp incline. And I don't really remember what happened next, just what my mom has told me. Which goes something like this:
As she exited the trailer, her baby girl was gone. In fact, the green Nova was also gone. ... As any mother would do, she panicked. At some point she looked down the hill and spotted the Nova wedged in between two utility poles with a metal fence being the only thing standing between it and a pool on the other side. As the story goes ... I was found without so much as a scratch, and if I recall right that green Nova (the tank that it was) also survived unscathed with many more years of service left to my family. And I was much like that old, green, tank-of-a-Nova -- as I too had survived my first brush with death.
It's funny, because for the life of me I cannot remember anything else about that incident other than the uncontrollable feeling I had to pull the gear shift down. And for fear of getting into trouble I'm sure I never really told my parents about that feeling. Besides at that age, I wouldn't have had the words for an explanation, but now I do. It was a feeling of hanging on and letting go. I knew it was against my best interest to do such a thing, but I couldn't resist it. And I also knew I faced getting into trouble with my parents, but what I didn't realize is that my fearless abandon could have been the death of me. To this day, I can vividly see the inside of that Nova with its dark-green interior and its silver gear shift sticking out of the column with its black round knob tempting me to do the forbidden. And I did.
I took the plunge, bit the apple and lived to tell.
So what did I learn? Not much at the time -- as it has taken me years to understand the entire incident and why that young, shy, soft-spoken girl who no longer exists would ever do such a thing. But, what I do know is if that young girl could walk the edge and survive then this grown-up adult version of herself has nothing to fear.
So. Here. I. Go.
**After hearing this story retold by my mom, the hubby came up with the name 'Green Nova' for his newest Bossa Nova song. Take that plunge and listen to it here: http://youtu.be/NauN_xt6AJI