Joshua Abramson was an anachronism. The reflection of his 64 Chevy truck stared back at him from the service station window. He wasn’t sure which was out of place; the truck, himself, or the gas station. This was always his final stop on his bi-monthly trips to Clewiston. Filling up his burnt-orange Chevy truck at the old Shamrock gas station. He’d visit Clewiston to go fishing on lake Okeechobee; go gator spotting and basically escape his nine to five. At only twenty-nine he felt like he was having a mid-life crisis. At least his wife thought so, after he had spent fifty thousand dollars on a restored 1964 truck. But it was his money, he had earned the right to spend it, and the old truck suited his personality.
As he entered the service station the manager looked past him to the old truck.
“She sure is a beauty.” He whistled.
Joshua nodded and kept walking toward the cooler. He needed a cold drink. Florida was heating up and it was still early February, the first freaking Sunday of the month. His wife hated the heat. Her hot blooded, feisty, New York temperament was amplified on warm days. Florida was always warm
“Eight cylinders; a knee knocker them cabs were. My daddy owned a yellow one when I was a kid. He crashed it one night on the I-95. The truck survived, he didn’t.” The manager continued.
He had pronounced the word “Yellah,” and Joshua nodded again, assuming it must be a Louisiana accent. He always had trouble understanding the varied accents he encountered in Clewiston.
“That truck been in your family long?” He was full of questions as he rang out the two cans of soda.
“Daddy kept it in good nick all these years.” He lied.
Was he ashamed to admit that he had spent half a years’ salary on an old truck? He shrugged off the stab at his conscience. His wife had nagged him so much about it, that her annoying nasal sound was now the voice of his conscience.
The gas station had only two pumps, and customers were forced to pay inside at the cashier. Joshua hated it as the lines were always long. But this evening he was lucky. He paid the sixty dollars and went to fill up his gas guzzler. Maybe his wife was right after all.
Clewiston had become more than just a simple getaway for him. Tiffany Brubaker lived there. The cute, pint sized, eighteen-year-old, country brunette with an adolescent smile and outlook on life. She loved fishing, hunting gators, and old cars more than Joshua Abramson did. For the last seven months, she had been his motivation for coming to this lakeside town. She had been working weekends at one of the fishing charters that dotted the lake, and one evening she had been bold enough to ask him out for a drink. She was a breath of fresh air. Care free, accepting, trusting. She was funny, and a healthy distraction that drew him to her, as much as the first time he had seen the Chevy in the garage of an old tire shop a year ago.
He understood now why they called it a whirlwind romance; things moved too fast, and neither of them had any control of the situation. Within a few months, he had leased her an apartment, bought her a project car that did not come cheaply; the expense for which he had explained to his wife was part of the trade up for the 64 Chevy, and then successfully proposed to Tiffany Brubaker.
“Would I have to become Jewish? I’m a Lutheran.” She had asked him
“What the heck for?” her question was in response to his proposal.
“Well ain’t you Jewish? I mean, with a name like Joshua Abramson and all?”
“I’m Irish Catholic, from New York. Don’t even have a Jewish friend.” He had never thought about why he was named Joshua until that moment. They both laughed, and she said yes to him.
The next few months he had spent trying to figure out how to get out of his marriage to Cristina Balotelli. It had been a futile effort. But Tiffany didn’t know he was married, and she never asked. It had taken very little to convince himself that he could live the lie for the time being.
This weekend, the trip at his suggestion, had been for them to get married. So, the previous Thursday, he had picked up a new suit, driven to her full-time job at the Clewiston Water Treatment Facility, and then drove the quarter mile back to the Clewiston Court House. The road was open country on one side and the color of his truck stood out on the empty road. With the backdrop of open fields for miles, he had never felt more exposed than he did now. His heart was racing until the moment he signed those documents, tying him to the bubbly brunette by his side.