A few weeks before I graduated from high school, at the ripe old age of seventeen, I bought my own car. Paid in cash, I loaded it up and drove off for college, $50 leftover in my pocket. It was a big step for me. A personal step towards independence, towards adulthood. I loved that car; surprisingly in a way I didn’t think I would. I was so proud of the fact that it was mine. I’d bought it on my own and it ended up being a very reliable car.
I made a lot of memories driving my friends around and it stayed with me for years. It went through college with me, endured friendly high speed chases, cruised through date nights and job interviews, it even made it all the way across the United States to Virginia and back again.
My dad helped me fix it up the few times something went wrong but it always came chugging back to life. It did me right. It drove like a smooth operator and shifted like a speedster.
When I got married it rolled right into our marriage with me. Sometimes I wondered if I would keep it forever. Truly drive it until the day it quit; had nothing left to give. I even thought once whether it would last until my first baby was old enough to drive it; lucky enough to have it as their first car.
Two years ago, however, it had its first big cough. We were constantly stumped and not quite sure what was wrong. We’d fix this and that and it would go a little while longer before encountering another hiccup of sorts.
Pretty soon we knew we had to let it go. Putting it up online was a piece of cake, watching people come test drive it was pie, haggling over price was done without breaking a sweat.
Then seeing it being loaded up onto that trailer, the bill of sale signed, the title passed over, I couldn’t take it anymore. I stared out the window wanting more than anything to run outside yelling, “Never mind! You can’t have it,” but I stopped myself. I can tell myself over and over and over that this was the right thing to do. It was time to say goodbye and let it go and I watched it drive away.
AJ came inside and found me quietly crying on the sofa next to the window. I told him I knew it was silly for me to be crying over a car, over selling a car but it was my baby, my pride and joy. It symbolized my first big step towards freedom, autonomy, self-reliance; it was such a big accomplishment in my eyes. Nine years, that Betty did me well for 9 years. It was really hard to see it leave and I wanted to keep it forever; I had really hoped that I would.
Now it’s gone but even as I type this I wish I could get it back.