Feed on

“You look fine,” he says. “You look great. I’d buy a car from you anytime.”
“But you don’t have money,” she says, peering into the mirror.

In Raymond Carter’s “Are These Actual Miles?” Toni and Leo’s struggle is represented by the car that they bought before they were in debt. The car must be sold because the characters have to go to court, probably to file for bankruptcy. The car was bought before the couple was in debt and when all the problems in the relationship were hidden or pushed aside. Now that the car must be sold, the problems of the relationship are uncovered from the veil of money and privilege. Leo’s unfaithfulness has been a problem in the past but now Leo suspects Toni is being unfaithful after returning home from drunken nights and ignoring Leo’s questions earlier when they were trying to sell the car. Leo knows that his wife, in the attempt to sell the car and also escape from their relationship, tries to seduce people to buy their last item of worth. The car is the last thing of their “wealth” and after the car is gone then they must face their children who have been sent away to love with Leo’s mother to shield them from the problems in the couple’s relationship. The couple has a reason for their excessive spending—their children. Toni says that she had to do without so many things and she does not want her children to face the same things, so the couple spends money on expressive clothes and joining clubs. They tried to live vicariously through their children and give them what Toni and Leo wish they had, but it is in this that they also ruin their children’s childhood because now both their parents are having horrible problems and are so far in debt they cannot even raise their children. As Toni leaves to sell the car, Leo is left to only think of all the mistakes they have made but has a conflict on how to go about mending these mistakes and mending his family. The car is finally sold and Leo lies in bed next to Toni while she sleeps. He remembers the day they first bought the car– their lives content.

Leave a Reply