The Passed Note Issue 1 June 2016 - Page 11

Kaitlin Bartlett

Holes to Fill

I maneuver my car up to the mailbox like I’m ordering burgers at a drive-thru. Ours is the one sandwiched in the middle between my Uncle Jack’s and Aunt Carol’s boxes. All our houses are on the same eight acres. The Bailey compound, people joke.

I stretch my arm out the passenger window, nearly impaling myself on the emergency brake. Aunt Carol would call this “making life more difficult for yourself, Macy Parade,” but I prefer to think of it as a welcome challenge.

Bills, bills, Mom’s People magazine, the grocery flier. Nothing from Bucknell.

“Damn it.” I roll the window back up and drop the mail into my lap. Acceptance letters are trickling out everywhere. Classmates are posting Facebook selfies with their huge envelopes.

I stare at Aunt Carol’s mailbox like I’ve got x-ray vision. Dying to know what’s inside, if my cousin Desiree has heard yet.

With a quick check of the road—empty, as usual—I turn my car toward our half mile-long shared driveway. Everyone at school always asks if Des and I are twins because we’re both tall and blond. We may not be sisters, but we compete like we are. If I try out for the school play, Des tries out for the school play. If she reads all eight hundred pages of Anna Karenina, I have to read them faster. I can’t remember our relationship ever not being about competition.

And then I hit the pothole.

“Motherfucker!” I bellow as my car makes a noise like a bomb and my tire pressure warning light starts flashing. My car is the only place I’m allowed to swear, so whenever I’m driving alone, I usually let it all out.

I climb out to survey the damage. The snow camouflaged the hole and I hadn’t thought to dodge. My right wheel is sunk pretty far in, too deep for me to reverse out. Aunt Carol tried that when she got trapped once, and it shredded up the underside of her car. I’ve most likely ripped a hole in the tire already, anyway. I’m stuck here.