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I woke up Friday morning on a mission, my brakes have been screeching all week and it was time to change them. It started when I dropped my daughter off in Zebulon the week before, pulling into the parking spot was when I first heard the grinding. I was surprised, since the noise sounded as if it had been grinding for a week already but it was my first time noticing.

Running every other day had me looking forward to this wake up, not having to work due to a Teacher Workday, I didn't have to set an alarm. Finishing off a bottle of water from last night I put on shorts and a long sleeve grabbing my wireless JBL earbuds. Usually, I run at five in the morning and need a reflector vest hoping that driver's headlights will save my life. There's been plenty of close calls, dating back to high school.

For the past couple months I've been forced to run in the cold, this Friday was one of the first good weather days. I finally didn't have to run in winter clothes, joggers a hoodie and a toboggan. Now only worrying where I would put my key on my run. At first, I put it in my grill on my front porch but one day I came home and felt that the lid had been moved which lead me to putting it in the crevice of my hat.

Deciding not to force the issue, I tucked the lone key in my sock and headed out the door. The morning was bright with a slight breeze, to me, the perfect running weather. Not too hot to where the contents of last night threaten to reverse direction in my esophagus, or too cold to the point where my fingers feel like icicles.

One true joy of mine is to drive with the windows down, let the wind rush over my face and arm while the sun beats on my head keeping me warm amidst the breeze. It's similar for when I run, among the elements taking in the sounds and smells the rare sightings of something worth mentioning later. Sometimes I see cars about to smash into each other, I've seen cops pursue a speeder, and arguments that can be heard over my headphones.

On this particular run, nothing out of the ordinary happened, I did my normal warm-up routine while I let jazz play. Finishing, I turned my music to some rap and took off leaving my parking lot and passing the mailboxes on my left. Taking the same route each time, I let my feet fall in front of the other while my mind wandered combing through thoughts as I try to make sense in the confusion.

Another reason I love to run is much like reading, a sacred detachment allowing my mind to go further than the body. An outer body-esque experience, for reading, it's as if I'm in the book visiting all the places described. I've been around the world! For running, it's like the movies where I'm high in the sky looking down watching myself pound into the ground. Except my thoughts are either in the past or future, sometimes handling the present, but mentally flipping through the good and the bad.

Often times, it feels as if I'm transporting while I run. Getting so lost that when I focus back to the task at hand, I'm much further than I anticipated. Even though I'm still aware of my surroundings, the cars behind me, the red and green lights, and other joggers. Sometimes I'm so far gone it feels as if I'm watching myself run as my mind takes me to nostalgic places.

I always finish my run with a sprint, mimicking fourth quarter when I've already laid everything on the floor and still have to muster up the energy to end strong. Post-run, I take a few minutes to catch my breath before entering the house, when I have, I go in and straight to stretching. Understanding I'm getting older and the necessity of keeping my body limber, I take my time to tend to every tendon and ligament.

Jumping in the shower to let the hot water steam my muscles, relaxing them to a position before my heart pumped from exercise. After hopping out, I relaxed my mind further before donning clothes that I didn't mind getting dirty. My plan for tackling my brakes had already formed in my head, my first stop would be to my parent's house.

I work out of their garage, I would've went to AutoZone first but I was running low on funds. I have a warranty on my brakes, tires, alternator, and radiator so I'm never coming out of pocket when I decide to do one of these. Although, I have a warranty, they still require me to buy brakes and bring back the old ones or just exchange the brakes after I took them off.

Choosing the latter, I immediately went to work after speaking to my parents and sister. Keeping the key in the ignition I turn Spotify to Hip Hop Jazz Instrumental beats and let the wordless music fill my soul as I start to take the first wheel off. I recognized the first beat resembled a song called Resurrection by one of my favorite artist named Common.

It instantly took me to early 2017 when I first discovered his wordplay, for myself at least, hearing some of his songs here and there. I remember how listening to this very song put my mind in a different place and purportedly the confidence behind my own writing talent. His vocabulary, presence, and his poetic-like flow turned on a creative switch in my head.

I'm always contemplating whether to use the electric drill or to a tire iron to get the lug nuts off. I knew I should've did the iron from jump but decided to try to quicken the process by using the drill. My main problem with it is that the nuts always get stuck forcing me to do extra work adding more time. Shrugging off the frustration I leave the nut with the drill's piece still attached and use the tire iron to get the rest of them off.

With the music softly clashing in the background sweat perspired on my forehead and back as I put all my strength in the initial counter-clockwise turn. I had to let the car down again so that the wheels wouldn't spin as I worked to get the bolts off. Getting the tire off is the easiest part, next is undoing screws that hold the brake to the rotor.

I ran into a quick hiccup, the nut was on too tight so I had to get some special lubricant to loosen it up. Only to realize after I sprayed it that I was working on the wrong bolt, but before I saw I took the tire off the other side to speed up the process.

With both tires off I was able to easily access the brakes taking them off and taking the rotors to Pep Boys to shave it down. I learned that they were too bad and had to get two more, which I did by calling around to find the cheapest price and to find the store that had them in stock. Another Pep Boys about 20 minutes away had them so I ordered and picked them up after I went with my sister to go look at wedding venues.

Which was an experience in itself, seeing the logistics behind a wedding from a close perspective. Getting back, the latter process was smooth without causing too many problems, I recalibrated the brake before heading to get the rotors to ensure I was ready as soon as I got back to my parents.

Putting the wheels back together and pumping the brakes so that they will work when I turn the car on. One time I forgot and almost took the whole garage down when my car door hit the side of the house. There's nothing like fixing a car by myself, it's a satisfactory feeling, a sentiment that radiates as I drive down the street. I feel as if people can tell I was the one that got my car tuned up.

It's the same feeling I have when I'm driving or walking with my daughters, a love that radiates infecting whoever I pass by. A love that takes me away to a place of genuine bliss, the excitement to be able to impart personal ideas into a growing vessel. Love that is unmistakable.

Amelia and Amara, daddy loves you.

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