You see me now as what I have become again:
Chromework like mercury,
Bodywork like a Tiffany egg,
Upholstery fine as a debutante’s glove.
I stand in an English field on a summer’s afternoon,
Surrounded by petrol fumes
And the smell of frying bacon
And tidy rows of cars
All like me,
All quite unlike me.
What you cannot see
As you study your face in my scintillating bonnet
Is all the love that has gone into restoring me –
A love full of puzzlement and invention,
A love full of second chances and third attempts,
Full of cock-ups and roll-ups and brew-ups –
Ugly and tender,
Messy and delicate,
And entirely unstoppable.
Oh, I was loved the first time around,
By the brawny panel-beaters,
And the thick-thumbed mechanics,
And the deft upholsterers
With their quick and clever fingers –
But it was nothing like this,
Nothing at all like this:
The devotion of a single, lonely man
With a small, cold garage
And a cramped little workbench
And 115 brake horse power in his quiet heart.
By Jonathan Steffen
First published in Cam Chatter, Issue Two Hundred and Thirty-Eight, January 2015
Photograph © Jonathan Steffen