The Old Holden

‘Can you please sell Dad’s car so I can get my ute in the garage?’

My stomach dropped. A text message from my brother. We’d been talking about selling the house and he wanted to come back and get started.

I know things don’t have feelings, but I have feelings about things.

Years ago, when my ancient olive-coloured hatchback no longer ran, some boys gave me $50 to take it away.  I took some photos as it sat in the street before they came and later I showed these photos to Dad. He grinned and said, ‘Oh you sentimental old thing’.

I stared at the text message and swallowed hard.

Nobody is interested in Dad’s car as a going concern. It’s too old to be refurbished and not old enough to be considered vintage. Ibrahim’s Scrap Metal will give me $200 to take Dad’s car away at midday on the following Monday.

I sat in the old Holden, hands around a cup of coffee. The car had to go. I knew that. It didn’t run well. It had been sitting there in the garage for nearly a year flattening the battery so it didn’t run at all now. I had taken the floor mats out and put them in my new hatchback. I prised the Holden lion badge off and the word ‘Holden’ and the number plates. It felt like a violation but I wanted them.

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What would Dad think of me now? Sitting blubbing in his car? Still a sentimental old thing. But it was time to let the Holden go. I knew that.

On Monday no one came and at about three o’clock I rang Ibrahim who told me the fella would be there but as I had to go out I said ‘No worries, let’s make it tomorrow if that’s ok. But it really has to be before noon because I must go out at twelve’.

Noon the following day rolled around and still no one came. At about four-fifteen I rang and asked if they were coming and Ibrahim said, ‘Oh yes, I think he forgot. Oh, he collected two cars from Sunshine…’ and I suppose that meant he didn’t have room for the Holden.

Ibrahim said he’d be around between seven and eight that evening but I said that was a bit late for me and could we make it Wednesday, but it had to be in the morning.

Jorge turned up just before noon the next day. He couldn’t get his lorry up the driveway so he brought up his spare battery to recharge the battery in the Holden. We discovered Jorge’s battery was flat too. Then he asked me to move my car so he could jump start the Holden from my battery, but we realised the batteries are on the opposite sides of each engine and his jumper leads wouldn’t reach.

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

He released the Holden’s handbrake and we pushed the big car out of the garage and down the driveway a little. Now we could manoeuvre the cars together and the Holden’s motor roared into life.

Jorge drove Dad’s car onto the back of the truck and headed down the driveway. I stood watching, pushing my fingernails into the palms of my hands. As he reached the end of the driveway I ran down to the street, the wind cool on my wet face, and we waved goodbye.

I swept the leaves out of the garage. It looked rather bare with just my little car.

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