My son Fred drove up in his new pride-and-joy, an old yellow Volkswagon beetle, his face luminous with love as he opened the car door.
I once spent a month travelling around the North Island in a yellow beetle, smoking pot with Darryl, laying back in the long grass with dandelion seeds floating in the air. Darryl wanted me to meet his family before we got engaged. I got on so well with his mum and dad, his kid brother covered in skateboarder's scabs, his old dog with awful breath. Wonderful drives through golden farmland, cows in the shade of crooked macrocarpas, reading Herman Hesse, listening to Dark Side of the Moon in the sleepout behind his parents' house. At the end of summer, I went back to uni. Never heard from him again. Rang twice; he was out.
‘Isn't it a beauty, Mum?’ Fred looked up at me.
I nearly swooned with sorrow.
‘Ever been in a beetle before?’
‘Not yet. Why don't you take me for a spin?’