this very small van.

A few pages ago, before writing on this page, I spoke confidently about my wildest motorcycle dreams. A few pages later, I can tell you that I bought something with four wheels.

Giuseppe, a Sicilian painter, sold it to me for a thousand US dollars. His reason for selling made sense. Recently he had a stroke and a heart attack and was currently recovering. I asked him how he was feeling and if he had changed the oil recently. His honest and light blue eyes were full of hours of labor and wrinkles of youthful sea. He had steel grey hair and his pants wrapped sideways around his hip, causing an illusion of the asymmetrical lower half. His butt looked sideways. He said yes that he’d changed the oil recently and that he was planning to use the money I gave him to travel back to Sicily to be with family. To drink wine beside the brick oven his friends made for him so long ago. To see the flowers of his childhood lean into his island’s sun. He handed over the keys. We shook hands. The grip confirmed our endearing friendship. His hands covered in dry paint, mine in cash. In gear now, I reversed out from his home. I looked in the rear-view mirror into his driveway and saw Giuseppe standing there with his face, wearing a somber squint. Maybe it was the stroke, but his cheeks were saying goodbye. The back of the van is splattered with paint. Smears and spots rubbed on panels from the pants of those inside. Twenty years of swishing buckets, holding the handle while it drips over the edge. Dropping the roller on the wheel-well. Swerving the van, driving into the curb, spattering little white fireworks across the glass. This very small van, with the interior of a Sicilian working painter and the exterior of the thorough and simply dressed family man from Japan. I roll down the window. This region of Australia is blistering around noon and the sun can pause any great thing from taking place. Not today, not in this roundabout or with these hands or with this one out of five star safety rating. I strap on the seatbelt.