When was the last time you received the gift of nothing? I'm not talking about random nothingness but a big wad of nothingness just where an annoying thing used to sit--in my case, a car. My son's car. The nonfunctioning car that hasn't run for months except to run the crock-pot (read it here).
I don't remember just how long it's been since my son replaced the dead car with a real live reliable car, and I know he made an effort to sell the old car but no one was interested in a 21-year-old nonfunctioning car that looked as if it had been painted by a colorblind uncle suffering from serious tremors. I don't know, maybe that Minnie Mouse applique on the passenger-side sun visor scared buyers away, but the car just sat there in front of my house reminding me, every time I saw it, that we live in Appalachia, where having a car carcass in the front yard is de rigueur.
But finally my son gave up on selling the car and junked it, which posed a slight problem: how to get a car to the junkyard when it (the car, not the junkyard) lacks a license plate? His ingenious solution: map a route that follows the narrowest, twistiest country roads, emerging onto the highway only when the junkyard is in spitting distance, and get someone (his dad) to follow him in another car in case the nonfunctioning one gives up the ghost for good. And so Sir Stephen and the Grey Knight made their royal progress through country lanes and o'er gravel paths until they arrived at yon junkyard, where they traded the car to the knackers for a sack of magic beans, or something like that.
And now every time I look at the spot in the driveway where the car carcass once sat, I see the most wonderful gift I could ever imagine: a great big chunk of empty space. Absence: it makes the heart grow fonder.