“Okay Amber. Where’s your jack?” Tom said seriously.
We were standing outside and I was peering intently into my car’s trunk. Tom has been reviewing a bunch of stuff with me before he goes to Korea.
Is it wrong that the first thing that popped into my head was Jack from Titanic? I wanted to be all, “Tom, Jack is dead. He froze to death in the water, didn’t you know?” I was tempted to say it but I didn’t think Tom would be amused. He was taking this review stuff seriously.
“My jack is….” I said, my eyes scanning the area. “Here.” I picked up a silver thing. I wanted to hold it over my head like a trophy and hum a ballad but again, Tom probably wouldn’t have liked that.
“And your spare tire?” Tom continued.
Hey. Where was my praise for finding the jack? Oh well.
“Under the flap in the trunk,” I replied triumphantly. I lifted up the flap and was hit by the smell of burning rubber, since it was so hot out. “It smells.” I pinched my nose.
“It’s rubber,” Tom said simply.
I wanted to make a joke about rubbers. Ugh, why did Tom have no sense-of-humor when he was teaching me things?
“Do you know how to change a tire?” Tom wondered.
I stroked my chin. “Isn’t that what USAA is for? We pay for roadside assistance.”
Tom frowned. “You should know how to do it. Suppose it takes hours for someone to help?”
“Isn’t that what Amanda’s husband is for?” I asked, naming my friend’s husband.
“He could be working. Then what?”
So Tom explained it all to me, pantomiming how to change a tire. There were so many dirty jokes I could have said, especially when he was bent over pretending to pump the deflated tire in the air so it could come off. I giggled once and Tom said sharply, “Pay attention, this is important,” so I mashed my lips together.
When Tom finished with the car stuff he asked if I knew how to weed eat.
“I plan on taking scissors and cutting the grass along the house,” I said seriously.
“Weed eating is faster.”
“Our weed eater is as big as I am and it scares me. Suppose I weed eat off my foot?”
Tom sighed and rubbed his temples. He was probably thinking, “Of all the wives in the world, I got stuck with this one.”
“You’ll be fine,” Tom promised.
“But what if I lose a toe? Would you still love me without a big toe?”
Tom blinked at me. “How could you lose a toe when you’ll be wearing shoes?”
Oh, good point. When I pictured myself weed eating I was in flip flops since it’s hot and all.
“I mixed up enough stuff you’ll need for the weed eater. It’s a mixture of oil and gas. No,” Tom said, pointing at me sharply. He knows me well enough to know that I was going to make a crack at the gas comment. (“Fart!”)
“Make sure you bring your car in every 3000 miles for an oil change. I’ll randomly ask you how many miles you’re at when we Skype,” Tom said. He’s big on changing oil every 3000 miles. He doesn’t understand why all people aren’t anal about this. “And they wonder why their cars crap out on them,” Tom will gripe.
“You’re going to mention car oil when we Skype? How romantic,” I said glumly. I pictured us talking on Skype, asking how each other’s day went and then Tom going, “And what’s your oil at today?”
“I think that’s it,” Tom said. “I think I’ve gone over everything I wanted you to know.”
“Thank you,” I said and bowed. I was pretending he was that old dude in The Karate Kid teaching me everything that he knew.
“You’ll be okay, right?” Tom added. I know he’s worried about me. We’ve gone through deployments before—once he was gone for six months—but we’ve never done a year before.
“I’ll be fine,” I assured him. “Now what does the jack look like again?”
A look of panic spread over Tom’s face.
“I’m kidding,” I said quickly.