My mechanic died today. That may not seem like such a big thing to some, but Darrell was my friend also. Many people liked to stop in to University Phillips 66 at 25th and Iowa and chat with Darrell. He approved officially of Delores the Taurus. He reassured me when I was convinced that one of my cars was on its last leg. He chatted with me about life and such when I stopped in and hung around, drinking a cup of coffee and smoking a cigarette in the garage, where customers "weren't allowed".
He agreed that my last boyfriend was a dumbass for not sticking around when I learned I was pregnant. No matter that said ex-boyfriend was not the father, Darrell was supportive in his own way... shaking his head and saying "He don't know what he's missing, girl."
Darrell followed along from a distance at the drama that my life became during the year of my illness. He admitted later "I thought you was a goner, girl."
He agreed with me that life holds it's own little miracles, and was happy and excited for me when I brought in pictures of Grace in-utero, or at least he nodded happily and pretended to see the baby in the blob ultrasound pics I was proudly flashing around. He always greeted me with a smile and a "Hey girl!"
Darrell shared with me just a few things about his own life as well. I know he was really proud of his sons... as painful as his love for them could be as they, too, faced their own challenges.
Darrell and I didn't know each other very well. But we were buddies, in the best sense... the kind of pal you meet at an unexpected place, like the gas & service station that you frequent because it's close to work and the people there are super nice and pump your gas when you're too sick to do it yourself.
I wish I'd gone in and gotten that much needed oil change that my dad paid for in advance a few months ago. I got busy having a baby and changing jobs and had a BP gas card and I'm a stupid girl who doesn't place oil changes very high on the priority list. I'm very sorry, though, that I didn't stop in and see my friend one last time.