I feel like I’ve told you this story already. It’s hard to know, really. We’ve become the kind of friends who toss stories back and forth, adding details and memories to the version we told before. And in that place of show and tell, it doesn’t hurt to hear a story more than once.
I think of Robb every time I put gas in my car. Every time.
First, I think of him because he always did it for me.
Second, I think of him because he broke my habit of driving with the fuel light on and just enough gas to get me through the day. We were engaged, and we were in the blending process of mine-is-yours and yours-is-mine. (Or as he liked to tease me, mine-is-yours and yours-is-yours.) He was weary of getting in my car and finding that his beloved bride had been carelessly driving with not quite enough fuel to get anywhere with certainty.
He had heard (certainly not read) that it takes 28 days to form a habit, so he presented a challenge.
“Tricia, it’s just as easy to keep your tank at least half full as it is to keep it just above empty. For one month, you have to keep your gas tank above 1/4 of a tank. If you can do it, I’ll buy you shoes. But if I get in this car and see it below 1/4, then you have to clean my whole apartment, top to bottom. Deal?”
Um, yes. Deal. I want the shoes, and I don’t want to clean your bachelor pad.
And sure enough, I finished the month with a new pair of shoes and a safer, better habit. (And he got a clean apartment because he kept it that way anyway.)
Once he felt assured that I would make wise decisions with my fuel and my safety, he resumed his self-proclaimed role of filling my tank himself. And without fail, every time he filled it for me, he got back in the car and said, “Whew. Your car was thirsty, girl. This was one thirsty car.”
I hear him in my head. Every single time.