The convertibles were out in force. There was a gasping sense of exhilaration as the New England fall meted out what promised to be the last of the warmth. It was like opening one's mouth in the wind--breathtaking in a way you could taste.
I was driving my own non-open vehicle to a birthday party with The Boss when I saw a 60s era Mustang in the distance. It was as red as an apple and ten times as shiny. Chrome accents gleamed in response to the fine-grained sun that only October optimism could produce. I saw a driver and three passengers. The two in the back were fidgety, their heads bobbing with excess energy and the wind.
As I pulled up alongside the rolling piece of Americana, I tried to steal a closer glance. There was a middle aged man--late 40s, maybe--in the driver's seat and an elderly one to his right. Two teenagers sat behind them. I was quickly found out; the driver looked over almost as soon as I did. I considered waving or giving the thumbs-up sign but ended up turning my face away instead.
The make-up of that Mustang's load could have been any number of possibilities, but I imagine three generations in two rows of beige leather. It may have appeared to me more idyllic than it was--the brightness, the chrome, the looks of peace in the front seat and exuberance in the back--but it didn't really matter. It was idyllic enough, in that moment, as the wheels turned over asphalt the way they'd been doing for 45 years.
I was a half-mile ahead when I looked in my rear view mirror and saw the sun pull at the corners of that shiny image as if winking at me. I smiled back. I really did.