My husband eases the car into the small, dark building until he hears a buzzer like a prison door alarm. He shifts into neutral, restraining us inside the concrete cell.
Soft whispers of cleanser land in ribbons on the windshield. A sprinkle of water falls. An increase in pressure turns the sprinkle into a shower.
Whirling dervishes of rubber strips massage the sides of the car, spinning away the mud and the grime and the oil. More rotating pieces ascend the front of the vehicle, buffing away road grit and bird shit.
Soap bubbles run down the windows. The hum of the machine fills my ears as the sweet scent of…sniff, sniff…grape soda fills my nose. A sprayer rinses from bumper to bumper before retreating.
My husband releases the clutch. A whoosh of air envelops us. It’s not easy to creep by the hot space with a manual transmission, but my husband accomplishes it. The front wheels touch pavement. We emerge into daylight.