Mazda Miata


Car Crushes

Mazda Miata. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons, Public Domain.

The most handsome man at my high school was so beautiful that I would have been happy to watch him plunge a clogged toilet. He had a flourishy name that I both can’t and would rather not remember. Gustavo. Gonzalo. Gianni. Goiter. Something. He ended up falling in love with a Mormon girl with a set of eyes so wide that she reminded me of a parakeet I once had. In the hallways, he would watch her with smile after big, moronic smile, crumpling under the hugeness of the luck that hooped and smothered the two of them. We all knew that he was thinking of proposing to her, which meant that he was about to convert to Mormonism, which is a long way of saying that there was nothing that made my blood jump more than thinking about this miracle couple working through a fatiguing bureaucratic process just so they could have sex.

Every day after school, I would pass his car in the parking lot. It was a Maraschino-colored Mazda Miata—a two-door soft-top with a curvy body like a woman’s. For some reason everyone was aware that nineties Miatas were delicate models with a knack for flipping and killing their owners in accidents against even marginally heavier vehicles. My best friend at the time thought this was delicious information. “One wrong sneeze and he’s dead,” she loved saying. Or – selectively stressing any mixture of the following words – “That has to be the stupidest car you could possibly buy.” This crotchety routine was boring before it started, but she made it very hard not to imagine his body getting scraped off the highway by some fabulous road shovel.

That Miata moved me. For as long as I knew him and her, as soon as I got into bed and shut my eyes, I would wonder what they did together in there. My mind held a picture of the Miata parked in front of the bakery in the strip mall by school. She would be in the passenger seat, and he would be visible through the shop window, buying her fruity, fatty prizes like banana cream pie and peach milkshakes and coconut donuts, balancing them on top of one another as he brought them back to go untouched and roast in the sun on the middle console as they drove away. Then, meaningfully, they would stare at each other after he turned onto the main strip. The floor of the car would be disgusting—hoagie wrappers, sugar shed from sour candies, pizza boxes in the back with the sauce and solidified cheese looking like the leftovers of a major surgery—and she, more gorgeous in counterpoint, would speak in a voice smooth and crotch-tightening, invoking her God and his testosterone. He would press a button, and the sky—which would be the exact same color of her jeans—would slide open. Her big eyes would be pointlessly full of tears. They would consider reaching out to grope one another, but in the gel of the dream, soft and void of logic, they would be too scared that in the process they might knock the donut or the whatever over and inspire some insane collision. Before I decided what love was or could be—and, for that matter, heaven and hell and eternal punishment; what it all was going to cost them—I would mash them into a savory pulp against a truck, chewing my cheeks down until I slept.

Mina Tavakoli is a writer from Virginia. She has written for Bookforum, The Nation, The Washington Post, and NPR, among others.