"I was just doing this ‘til I figured out what I wanted to do with my life," he says to me from across the dimly lit garage. I can see the dust falling through the air thanks to the single fluorescent bulb swaying gently side to side. As he writes my receipt I stare at his cracked, yellowing nails and knotted fingers. If I had to guess his age I would say perhaps early sixties, but when he looked up and smiled it was easy to see the 20 year old lad he had once been.
"I quit going to college halfway through to take sometime to figure out what I wanted in the world, besides back in those days I was making more money fixing up cars then most of my friends who got their diplomas and such," melancholy and nostalgia crept into his voice. "Those were the days."
"How do you keep current?" I ask, pushing the conversation to a safer place, free from pain or regret. "Cars must have changed a lot since you first started."
He laughed, a good deep laugh, “Manuals. Absolutely dreadful to read, but they’re good companions when I’m all alone and can’t sleep at night.”
I try to grin or something; I don’t know what to say. I am a little lost. Lost in the oil stain on the floor, lost in the ash tray that sit on the desk, lost in the picture on the wall, crinkly, the edges curled over with time, the face of a beautiful young woman smiling out at me. I’m lost.
"Do you have a dream?"
I hold my breath. “I’m not sure… I think maybe I have many little dreams, but all in all I’m a bit lost myself.”
"Ahh," he lets out a heavy breath, "Well, you are still young. Not me, I am old now. But I wake up everyday and ask myself what my dream is. I think I still have time. Maybe we all have time."