Nicky Yurcaba

*Editor's Note: This poem came with colored text, which was intentional, and I tried to match it as closely as I could here.

Gas Pump Ponderings

she was simply being nice. the dutiful daughter. after all, it was sunday afternoon. the least she could do--her day's good deed--was pumping her parent's gas. shivering in a thin wrangler western shirt. cowboy boots scraping a raised concrete platform where statuesque gas pumps stood.

her mother used to be fairly feisty and independent. the father says the young woman reminds him of how his wife used to be. key phrase--"used to be". because somehow during their twenty-seven years of marriage, her mother lost that independence. that once feisty flame went cold. her mother had forgotten what it was like to even pump her own gas.

she, the twenty-one year old dutiful daughter, felt enslaved at times. little social life. pretty much no dating. destined to make sure her mother and father never had to lift a finger--to cut wood clean house take out trash empty the cats litter box stoke the fireplace. pump gas.

she reaches a point of mental exhaustion. their dependence on her becomes ridiculous. so she vows never to have children. for whatever her lifetime calculates out to, she wants to remain self-sufficient and independent. even if she ends up chained by marriage. she remembers how hard her parents had pushed her--to the point of mental exhaustion--growing up in high school in athletics and she doesn't want to be mother drill sergeant and she knows they're why she prefers the big a--alone.

in some cultures, like a few of the asian ones, she'd be highly respected for her efforts. key word--respected. respect--something she receives little of from her mother. she's simply supposed to be there--voila!--at a snap of their fingers to carry wood clean house empty the cats litter box. pump gas.

she knows she should control her unmouthed complaints. the parental units did not charge her rent. nor did she have to buy groceries though she did sometimes just to be generous. out of her measly two part-time job paychecks she makes her truck payments, pays tuition bills and she spends money at her own free will on guns ammo boots clothes books journals. she pays for her own gas.

if she ever gets married or involved in a serious relationship? highly unlikely. she doesn't know how she'll react to a significant other pumping gas. after doing it for so long on her own, it would be different when it's his truck and he's pumping the gas. will she sit lazily in the passenger seat saying "get me a water" when he opens the driver's door asking if she wants anything? how is it going to be if it comes down to being their truck?

a tad bit of her independence.

stripped away.

succombing to wifely surrender.

as progressive and unchauvanistic as society has become, it might still look odd if the woman pumped gas while her man lounged behind the steering wheel.

throw a child into the scenario. a grown child. a twenty-something young woman still living at home. she pumps the gas. mother sits at the steering wheel. father, in his sunday best, walks into the small country store. to pay cash.

the daughter? she pumps the gas. watches orange digitized numbers slot-machining away. observes a wornout jeep cherokee pulling into the lot. quietly unaware of the driver measuring her up.
and when he exits he is tall forty-ish age is mind over matter--if he don't mind then it don't matter--brown hair blue or green eyes realtree patterned winter coat. walking past her he looks at her. she nods, smiles shyly.

single she is flirtatious with an ever-wandering eye.

"hello" he says. she says "hi" in return, turns her head as the pump clicks stop. slowly she returns the nozzle to the pump. taking the vehicle's tethered fuel cap in hand, she tightens it--turning clockwise--onto the chevy equinox's fuel tank.

the man exits the store. just as quickly as he entered. she turns to him. he looks at her.

"have a good day" he says. smiling she offers "you too". coyly, she tries not to let him notice her flirty watchful eye watching him walk away observing his tall figure and handsomely lined face wondering who in her own life he looks like. a stranger she once met at a bank or a store? some older version of an ex-lover?

again, he looks at her, pausing at the jeep cherokee before opening its driver's door. he looks at her, making eye contact from the short distance across the lot. in honest and mutual attraction their eyes meet and she continues smiling.

unabashedly he tells her "keep smiling you have a beautiful smile".

for whatever reason she is shocked. walking through a chilly breeze to the store's outdoor cracked corkboard bulletin she smiles wider glances downward.

"aw thank you" she says. her cheeks flush with embarassment. embarrassed to have shown interest and received it mutually from a much older man in front of her mother. yet she watches him drive off into the horizon's forboding gray yonder heading north on two-laned highway 259--that old hillbilly highway she knew oh so well wondering where he headed. thankful to have had someone lift her quietly saddnened gloomy day infected spirits. dreading taking the trash to the dumpster. believing in the power of a simple smile.

craving a wild cherry wood-tipped swisher sweet cigar.

A 2009 Bridgewater College graduate, Nicky Yurcaba has decided it is better to live life as a rambling poet than a slave to the corporate monster. Her works have appeared in Bridgewater College's "Philomathean", Bluefield College's "Bluestone Review", Mary Baldwin College's "Outrageous Fortune" and the online journal, VoxPoetica. She has work forthcoming in the online magazine "Referential".

1 comment:

  1. this is eloquent in its rambling poetic style. questioning generational dependence, independence, inter-dependence. complex in its simplicity. it has a yearning well captured.

    i enjoyed this write very much.

    thank you Nicky.

    thank you Hobo Camp Review.


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