Once there was a man that wanted a car. Not just any car this was a different kind of car. A car desired sought after and admired in the entire world of admired and sought after cars. When he first saw this car he was just a young man. A young man of just 23 years of age, like I said, not old, not young but a young man all of the same. When he first met his girl who would eventually become his wife he would talk all the time about this car called the ‘God of the road’ and how one day he would own his very own much sought after and admired car. She seemed impressed and loved the idea of being driven around in car that would be very much admired and very much wanted by those that looked upon it. She liked to think of herself as a better than average person. He just thought of himself as a man that wanted the sought after car.
He worked and worked very hard; he worked all hours, many hours, long hours and over time hours.
His best friend since childhood would tell him,
‘you work far too hard, start enjoying what you are working for and enjoy your live rather than constantly planning your life.’
He would always reply the same,
‘Once I have enough money saved in the bank I will buy myself a super car.’
He would say, repeat and say again with a smile of surety and promise. His best friend didn’t really care for his comments because he was always driving a great car himself. His friend believed that life was to be lived, not waited for. Time of course moved on. The man that wanted to own the much sought after car had gotten older. He was getting greyer, more creased in his skin, more set in his ways, working hard and counting his savings until the day arrived he decided to take a risk that was said to be so small he could never lose.
If the risk was to pay off he thought,
‘I could buy my dream car, drive into my dream village and park outside my dream house.’
So the man that so desperately wanted the car for the past 20 years or so put all of his savings into a new kind of bank account that was promising to make the man lots and lots and lots of interest. His car was blinding his vision and wisdom and thoughts of loss.
‘Now you have more money coming to you with a promise that cannot fail, why don’t you go buy the car of your dreams, the car you’ve always wanted darling?’
The man who so desperately sought the much sought after car would reply,
‘One day I will have that car when I am ready, you’ll see’
and would then go out and buy a really cheap car and whilst driving he would dream he was driving his dream car only to see his reflection in the large window ahead that revealed his truth of driving the old used car. One day his best friend from childhood went around to visit him in his new Mercedes car.
The man that wanted the much sought after car said to his oldest friend,
‘I love your new car, I would love to drive one of those cars myself’
His friend replied,
‘Look at us; we are now in our sixtieth year (time really was passing them by). From the age of our youth and the age of our parenting and the ages of all ages you have been talking about your car – your very much, very admired, very talked about sought after car. You have money saved to the point your life has been meager and saved at every point. When the day arrives that you can buy your dream car you will have lost the enjoyment of life to enjoy the car’
The man that wanted the sought after car replied,
‘I want that car as much today as I did nearly 40 years ago – I will own it, I will drive it one day.’
The very next morning the man that dreamed about his sought after car received a letter through the post. The letter was a letter that carried some bad news. The man discovered that his investment of all his years of hard work was not only at risk but was losing him money and losing money fast. So he immediately picked up the phone, called the bank to find out exactly what was going on with his savings and his hopes. The man was told his bank was in lockdown, a trader that wasn’t a rogue, wasn’t a bad guy but just loved to play with other monies from other savers had made some bad investments in the city and the bank still loved him and the bank still rewarded him and the bank still gave him huge bonuses despite his apparent failings. This was common in banking and should be accepted even from the man that wanted the much sought after car. This meant that the man’s ’ sought after car’ money was worth less than half of what he had put into the better-than-better-bet savings account. Not only was it worth just half of it’s previous values but it meant that some of his future dreams and hopes had to be put even further back and at the age of almost 70 years he would have to go back to work to generate some new funds and new incomes to build up his monies once again.
Time did what time does and kept moving forward not backwards, not sideways but the way that time has always gone – forward. He was getting old, his wife was getting old, and they were both getting old. One day his wife felt not quite well and in fact felt very sick. They sat in the back room of their home as it had a large window, they could see their perfectly cut and perfectly green grass, they could look at the manicured trees and they could watch the brown, dirty, cautious and very brown squirrels running back and forth and up and down the trees.
The wife of the man that really wanted a sought car, the car that was to be his life mission and the car that all admired said to him.
‘Look at us, we are old, we are coming to our ends days and our life has been a life of saving, of collecting and of waiting. Please will you do one thing for me soon? Buy that car you have so admired all of your long life?’
The man replied,
‘Let me just spend a year working and I will maybe buy the car then.’
Deep inside the woman of the man was annoyed at him but she loved her man and just listened to him and left him to do what he felt was best for him. His life had been work; his life had been overtime his life had been about planning and working towards his end goal whatever the end goal was. He could always see himself as this middle class man driving his middle class wife in their middle class sought after car through the streets of their middle class village and maybe even further on some days. He could always see that coming, his life had been about that and he knew his dream would become a reality.
Then one day the wife of the man who had not been feeling too well began to feel even worse, even sicker and even sicker than she had felt in days before. The doctor arrived and then shared bad news with the man and his wife. She was to die soon. In fact she was to die sooner than soon because after the bad news had been shared, her life was to end just 3 days later in her sleep. Her heart stopped, her breath ceased, her vital energy had gone out, left her and gone away from the man who wanted the very admired car. The man’s very longtime friend visited to comfort to him. No skin contact was made, just words, just words of comfort to be shared and talked over. The friends wife had died some years before, he could feel the pain if the man yet the man could only say one thing.
He said to his friend, who had come to comfort him,
‘I’ll still get that sought after car you know, I’ll still get one of those cars’
The friend of the man wanted to say something but couldn’t. He simply smiled at him and eventually he left. Now the man that always wanted the car that everyone including himself would admire had time to reflect, time to look at his life alone. He was alone he really was alone. In the big house he spent his life saving for, in the big lounge he so carefully decorated and painted layer upon layer of paint and now would sit and face his self installed fireplace with its old wood surround alone all alone just himself, his house and his thoughts. Now 74 years old he looked back over his life – retrospective they call it – he said to himself as he stared into his TV set in an non-thinking hypnotic state. His mind eventually went to his life dreams, the much sought after car, the car he loved, the car he so admired and the car that would drive and look fantastic in his middle class village with his middle class life but no longer with his now gone middle class wife. The same car he had promised his wife all of her long life.
The sought after car he had said to her,
‘I will drive you out in a much admired, much glanced, much sought after car one day and we will be the finest people in the finest village with the finest car’.
The wife of the man who had now passed away of course had always told him to go and buy the car, go get the sought after car and enjoy it in his youth. He didn’t of course. His old age had arrived and now he was alone.
The time was never right, the cash was never in place and he had plans for the future so they could both drive out in the shining car together. Now she had gone home to the dust, now he was alone and now was the time for him to make a decision. His decision was made and the very next day the man that always wanted the sought after car drove home in his most of all mostly admired cars. When he arrived home in his very smart village with his very much sought after car all those that could see him watch him drive-by and admired the shine the sheen and the glow of the very expensive life-dream and dreamt-for-life car.
Some would even say in whispers,
‘His wife has died so he has bought that very nice car to make himself feel better about life’.
Others would say,
‘he is the smartest man in the smartest village in his very smart car’.
And yet others would say,
‘Is that the man that always said he would drive his wife out into the countryside in his very sought after car and now he is alone, all alone in his new car that is very much admired by all’.
The man arrived home in his shining new car and his neighbors came out. They all talked, they all smiled, they all admired and the man simply said
‘I always said to my wife that one day we would own a brand new car that would be admired by all’.
He said this with a smile, he said this with pride and he repeated the same thing time and time again to those with ears that wanted to listen or comfort the man by listening. Yet the truth is this was a promise to himself and to his wife that was now too late to be enjoyed like a young man enjoys. His wife had gone back to the dust and he wanted her back so he could drive her into the countryside in his new four-wheeled pride. His own life was coming to a close yet all he really wanted to do was share his life and his much admired new car with another but he was now all alone. He looked back over his life, his cutbacks, his hard word and his dreams only to realize life had cheated him. His dream and been based on a life that would go on and on and on and on. His life never went on and on, his wife’s life never went on and on. He thought about his best friend that drove another kind of much admired car and had much admired holidays to match his very much admired cars. He thought about his friend with envy with a jealous sadness and yet with an admiration that he had lived his life as his life arrived never on the basis that his life would finally arrive at some point in the future.
That night the man that loved his new and now owned much sought after car locked his car away safely. He double locked the door of his garage with an alarm also on his much admired car, an alarm on his less admired old garage and a security light that would blind any car thief in the flick of a moment.
The man walked back to his house and before opening his green door, he looked back at his garage, looked directly at the side window where he could see just a small part of his life-dream that was very much admired and then turned and went into his home.
That night he lay in bed dreaming he could be younger, he was younger, dreaming his wife was lying at his side, giggling about their adventures in his much sought after car, dreaming that he could and dreaming that he was living his life all over again. The man closed his eyes and went to sleep alone.
Alan Forrest Smith