Not all Fairy tales happened once upon a time…
My roommate has a mechanic who lives about an hour and a half from us, in the tiny little hamlet of Garland, Maine. My roommate’s boyfriend swears the place is mythical.
“We drove into the middle of nowhere,” he says, his eyes wide, “Into this forest glade, full of fireflies and fog, and we left the car. And then, we came back in the morning, and sure enough, the car is fixed. This doesn’t happen anywhere else in the world. It was like… like a liminal space, like one of those places ‘betwixt and between’ where the Fae live and work. It’s not normal!”
Today was my day to see for myself. My roommate couldn’t get the time off to drop off her car before a lengthy journey to reclaim her firstborn child– another story for another time– so that quest fell to me. I was up altogether too early for an unemployed person to get up to make the drive, but make it I did.
After an hour and a half of highway, the road was remote indeed. I very nearly missed it.
When all at once, there’s a loop at the end of the road, and I was in a henge of parts cars.
It was silent and still, except for the sounds of summer cicadas, and chickadees, and a shrieking bluejay somewhere in the trees.
I wanted to call “Hello?” as I approached, but some reverence for the place, and the quiet, made me decide not to. There amid the henge was a small wooden building, overgrown with hops, with a brick chimney and a sign with ancient-looking lettering. My roommate told the mechanic to expect me and the car between 8 and 9, and here it was 8:30, and I heard no sounds to imply another human was anywhere to be found.
A cat sat in the doorway, standing up as I approached. I always had a kind of affinity with cats, so I patiently bent forward and offered my hand for pets. The cat came near, and when I looked up, there he was.
I didn’t get his picture, I thought it would be rude. He was a little shorter than me, with thick white-blonde mutton chops framing a creased and wrinkled– but cheerful– face. He had round cheeks and a bulbous nose, long eyebrows, facial hair that all but hid his lips. He looked like a Brian Froud painting come to life. He wore a navy blue coverall, and a painter’s cap of the same color, and cradled a silver wrench in his blackened hands.
“Mornin’,” he said, in a surprisingly deep baritone voice, which sounded a bit like a bullfrog.
I nodded politely.
“So what we got?”
“I don’t know. The ‘check engine’ light’s on, and it rattles a little over 60.” I handed him the keys.
“I’ll give a call when it’s done.” And back in he went without another word.
I had to get some pictures while I waited.
I noticed apples were already well underway alongside the road.
I saw deer hoof prints in the mud.
A swamp, cattails and all, just behind some scrap metal.
A mossy bed in the shade of an ash tree beckoned to me. I had gotten up terribly early (for me, anyway) and the thought of a nap whispered in my ear. It made perfect sense, after all. This was what one did, while having their car fixed, right? They waited, in a forest, with old stones jutting out amid the scrap cars, while frogs chirped and bluejays scolded and dragonflies hummed…
It was cool raindrops that awakened me. I didn’t remember dreaming of anything but a melody that remained in my head, but I must have nodded off. I only hoped a hundred years hadn’t passed…
And there was the cat, waiting for me in front of the green car.
And there was the Hyundai, waiting for me, with a receipt on gold paper under the windshield wiper. The keys were in it.
I ducked into the door, leaving a check on the desk. A check, thankfully, that contained my roommate’s name… not mine.
But before I got in to drive away, I thought, nobody would believe this place was real. So I snapped a selfie to prove it once and for all, but the damnedest thing happened:
…my face isn’t in the shot?