Cutting the Strings


Sophie drove the rental car. I don’t think it’s allowed. I told the agent we have three drivers; he didn’t mention any restrictions. He never asked her age, so I never told. Still, I doubt they want a seventeen-year-old driving their car. She leaves at 5:30, Tuesdays and Thursdays. “Text us when you get there, let us know you’re all right.” This is a big-ass leap of faith. I hate driving those roads. Especially at night. She won’t get home until nine.

Next year, she’s on her own, fully self-sufficient. She’ll need good judgement, good skills. Better if she practices now, without a car full of friends, without alcohol, or weed. A long dark trip; winding, hilly roads. Tuesday night was fog.

Rental car? We bought a lemon. Do people still use this word? When I was a kid, that’s what we called a car that breaks down. The air conditioner stopped working. Then the back-up camera. Two oil leaks. The AC again. Now they’re replacing the engine. We went car shopping with a budget—used car shopping. This one at the top of our range, making my stomach queasy. It’s a nice car, solid, comfortable, but we have to make the payments. In the finance office, they pitched the extended warranty, jacking the price by two grand. That feeling in my stomach grew.

“It’s moderately high mileage. I’d feel better if you had some protection.” This is the finance manager. She sounds like somebody’s mom. Of course she’d feel better, she gets a commission. I did some math: years times probability divided by miles. We bought the warranty. We added a year to the payment plan to keep down the pain.

Free. It’s all free, or at least already paid for. The AC, the camera, the leaks, the engine, even the rental car. I should thank that woman for guilting me into a warranty. We’ve saved thousands of dollars… on our lemon.

Sophie has a plan. Collegiate rugby. The schools she applied to all have programs. She thinks she’ll make some friends. And stay in shape. And continue to improve. Rugby is the sport that stuck, the one she loves, but her team collapsed this year. Something about new league rules, coaching requirements and unnecessary hassles. Tom’s daughter graduated last year. I’d bail on coaching too.

The closest team is in Westminster, an hour away. She’s committed to playing this spring, sticking with her plan. So she’s making the drive, back roads, winding, hilly, foggy, maybe deer… in the rental car. We’re cutting the apron strings. I worry the whole time she’s gone.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

26 thoughts on “Cutting the Strings

  1. You’re a good parent, Jeff. My son is only 10yrs old but I still prepare myself for when he leaves home. My mom used to warn me (when I was an adult!), not to leave my house after sunset, I used to laugh to myself about her over-protectiveness; but I was recently walking alone at around 8pm and I thought that in a few years my son would be walking by himself in the dark and I felt sad and worried. Letting go is hard!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Letting go is difficult for sure. My older daughter & I still live together, finances and Ben’s needs just make it easier, but younger daughter moved out in July. We still text just about every day and I see her often (so she can borrow my car😂) but I still worry.
    I dont think we ever stop. My mother tells me that she still worries about me.


  3. Rugby! She is a player then, dont worry too much. Impressed. Forward or back? I was a founding member of our women’s team after two years of collegiate field hockey competition burned me out, an outside center. Still remember a few bawdy songs~

    Liked by 1 person

    • Last time i bought a used car, I bought the warranty, my dad called me a sucker (he was a little nice than that) and we never used it once. We went in this time thinking we wouldn’t get it and the finance manager really talked us into it. Thank god.


Leave a Reply to Jeff Cann Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s