A Saturday that would've been spent on a group call, either screaming of the obscure topic that someone else would've brought up today, spent playing some virtual board game, or any other number of things to waste a weekend with when your friends were car-dependant and couldn't make it a day in-person, and Skater Cookie sat in the front of Coffee Cookie's smaller car, wind passing through a crack in the top of the window. He knew he could press a button for a second or two at any time to get the wind out of his face, but seeing as the two were almost at their destination, his hands remained in his lap. Probably would be texting, but he left his phone home. Top killers of the newest drivers, of course, no distractions allowed for the half an hour they would be there.
Coffee pulled a right into a local school's parking lot. Saturday, perfect to use one of these. Nobody's there. A few others for some sort of town meeting, but that's the other parking lot. A perfect day to teach her son something. And so, parked, not parallel (yet), the two both step out.
"So, why bring out the expensive one?" Skater asked. She usually used the van anyways for everything else. This car, sleek, long, bright scarlet -- and then stuck in the garage for eleven months out of twelve in a year. A bit of a money waste. Could be like every other expensive one she's tried to buy, where she ended up selling it a year or two later, but no, this one's been here for four more years than the last one.
"Smaller, should be easier for you," Coffee replied, a hand on a traffic cone, the other on the tape measure. The measurements for parallel parking again...seven feet. Maybe eight.
One cone, then two, each with a stick slapped on the top for visibility's sake. One made of standard plastic, orange, two white stripes at the top. The other was shorter, made of wood, and probably grabbed from in the same dusty garage the car sat in. Whatever worked. Coffee only brought Skater out because the official, trained-professional lessons were four months ago, and his test in one month ahead. Less than a month. She's busy with work, the weather here isn't the best during the winters, but finally, some time off of job, some mother-son bonding. And some practical life skills, of course.
And so, with the makeshift spot set up, the two traded places in seats. Skater at the wheel, his mother at side and at aid if need be. One foot went to the brake pedal already, wait, no, that could the gas one too. Wait. Wait a second. Which one is break again.
"Which one is the breaks?"
"Has it been that long? It's the one on the left." The one that stuck out more. Should've been obvious, but what if it wasn't, and Skater managed to careen this hunk of metal into the curb within the first five minutes? Either way, he should be fine. It's on parking, an arm slides it into drive. His foot moves to gas.
"Do a circle around the lot first." Coffee asked, and Skater obligated, the arm moving to join another at the wheel. Turn the wheel, around one curb, and then trying to let the wheel spin back on its own. Within two seconds of it moving at snail's pace, Skater rushed it back to straighten, and already, as all driving is, avoiding death once more. The other three ways around to where they started were the same, with each having a droplet more skill to it. And right at the cones, Skater's head slammed him with what he needed -- the instructions on how to parallel park. First, one must line up with the other cars. Make sure the front of the one at the back is the one at the back of your own. Done with little trouble, had to brake and then idle up a bit more to make sure everything was fine.
"Good job, dear," a compliment from Coffee, the ultimate validation from mother to child. Skater's heart lightened up a bit from the teen-driver anxiety a population shares, like being soaked in a warm water in a bath. That's what mother's love feels like, especially at the age where one starts to drift more and more from it until boxes are packed and one leaves the nest.
"Now, do you remember the next step? Reverse in until you're four inches from the curb," a friendly reminder, but one Skater needed. That warm feeling was a slight flood now, because he had, indeed, forgotten what to do next, and even the slight knock in the head Coffee just gave was a huge help. Turn the wheel, foot on brake, reverse, foot off break. Push the gas pedal, just slightly, and-- oh. The wheel was the wrong way. Brake again. Other way. Thank the stars that didn't lead to disaster. Everything's settled. How mindless. Driving was a mindless art, yet if your mind's brush even diverts a bit, who knows which part of your dough hits the fence next to the roads? But then again, knowing his hobbies, maybe Skater was used to that sort of danger. No stranger to traversing roads on the board, meeting up with the neighbors this way, angering any middle-aged cookie who thought there should be a bike lane.
Coffee guided on, still, "Just a little more, now you can breakOK, PLEASE BREAK," and turns out Skater's foot hit the wrong pedal when she said break the first time. A fast movement back, a harsh stop, and both of them felt the propel forwards, only stopped by cookie's second best invention, a seatbelt.
"Shit, hold on, let me step out a second..." All of that warmth felt from the compliments was flushed away down the drain at that mistake. The guilt. Was the car ok? Were they going to be ok? What if they had to walk back? Worries, worries, Skater's mind droned on, until a thumbs-up could be seen from Coffee in the back. Everything was fine. A breath was let out from Skater, a sigh of relief, and Coffee made her way back to shotgun.
The rest of the parking attempt was ok. And so, the process repeated a few times, and each time, Skater grew better. That's how driving practice performs. Half an hour of this...oh, what a story Skater could tell in the group chat tonight. Better than the microdrama they usually brought in, at least. Maybe Skater would be able to pass a driver's test after all of this.
After all, a mother knows best for her children.