The gravel flew as he pulled into the driveway. I had been playing in the backyard. As soon as I heard the car door slam, I ran to the front. The bright red hood confirmed my suspicions. It was Gramps. I don't really remember the day it happened. I have heard the story at least 1000 times if not more. I have some fuzzy memories of a man standing with the axe raised over his head, but that is about it.
Gramps use to be an alcoholic. He was a mean drunk too. You did not want to be in his way whenever he had a few too many. That is why the hood of the car is red. When I was 9, I finally got the courage to ask him "Why didn't he change it to match the rest of the car"?
"So I don't forget, that's why", was his reply.
At 6, I didn't know about AA. I didn't know that 12 steps was a "program" and not a new hop scotch game, but I knew what that red hood on the silver gray impala meant. It meant Gramps didn't get mean anymore. Didn't get drunk. Didn't shout. It might not have been conventional, but it worked.
Every now and then I would see him walk out to the car and run his hand over the hood.52 whacks. Lizzie Borden would have been proud. He had whacked the hood of his most prized possession 52 times with an axe and didn't remember a damn thing. He may not have remembered it, but the car did. That is why its hood is red. A constant reminder that maybe next time it won't be the car. Next time it might be a little 6 year old girl playing hop scotch on the front porch.
This is for the writing prompt at Studio 30+. The prompt was RED.