Lit Life


I don’t know why I remember the smell of gasoline.

Sitting on the garage floor in nothing but my short corduroys, grease smeared on my knees, I watch Papa curse over the truck engine. Gasoline, sawdust, and grease was all over the garage, painting it with the leftovers of hard work and, often, failed attempts.

Carved wooden projects were stacked against the shells of cars, which were bursting with old, odd bits from the house. Shelves in the corner held an assortment of paint and were lined with Folgers Coffee cans overflowing with nuts, bolts, and nails.

I sat, leaning against the metal shell of a station wagon, entertaining myself with toy cars. These were distractions I most likely stole from my uncle when he wasn’t in his room. A wrench slams into the engine and I drop my toys.

Papa, in the stream of curses, storms out of the garage, tearing the door off its hinges. I stand there, as light invades the dim space, bringing with it a fresh breath – a breeze.

But all I can smell is gasoline.

© 2016 Ariana Nelson

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