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The Van by William Cass

I remember his van. Not the way it is now, but the way it was. Paint that the manufacturer called “Champagne” because it’s more bourgeois than brown. There’s a dent on the back hatch. That was my fault. The mailbox jumped right in front of me, I swear. Faux sheepskin covers, a staple in any of Grandpa’s vehicles, still holds his familiar smells. Coffee and aftershave. I remember the smell of the car on rainy days. The seat covers would smell like wet sheep (go figure) and I would hold my breath. But now, years after, it’s something I miss.

I remember the later years of the van. The positions switched. My hands, younger, rougher, would grip the wheel and my feet, bigger and clumsier, would push the petals. His hands, wrinkled and soft, would rest on his lap; his feet, dressed in brown loafers, would stand firm on the ground.

I could climb in the van now, on a rainy day, or to get food. It still works, it still serves its purpose. But it wouldn’t be the same. The coffee and aftershave have faded. The van had different hands on the wheel now, not mine, not his. The covers are gone, long torn by the passage of time.

The memories. The memories are mine. They will never change.

William Cass is a communications major at San Jose State and will hopefully graduate sometime next year. His first published story was called “A Speculative Love” and was printed in the Porter Gulch Review. This is his second published piece. He has a nerd blog at somewhatnerdy.com where he reviews movies and tabletop games.

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