I shared a lot with that car. I shared with it all of the tears that accompany a senior year of high school, of skipping math to sit in the school parking lot to write sad love letters to the boyfriend who would become my husband one day. Of skipping math and typing and anything but photography any chance I could, rounding up friends for trips to the library or Starbucks or to eat my weight in take-out Roadhouse Grill rolls with my best friend when the hurt of missing my boyfriend was too heavy. It saw late night trips to Taco Ball, driving around the city blaring Alkaline Trio songs until the windows rattled, my cheeks wet with tears. It saw terrifying first trips on the highway to our favorite open mic spot on nights where my mother mostly just wanted me out of the house and around people capable of smiling. It saw trips to the beach, sand and salt and freedom; late night phone conversations with the boy I physically ached to be apart from. It saw fights and arguments and silent, awkward trips across a city that never seemed so big before. It saw all of those times I slowly transitioned from a naive, spoiled child to a woman who understood the world is capable of being a lot uglier on the outside of the gates of my parents neighborhood. It heard secrets -- so many secrets; my own, and words others told me they thought they never could. It lugged music equipment, friends of friends, empty Starbucks cups and textbooks and backpacks. It eventually held my belongings as my father helped me drive up to college that summer. Four months into my college career, I was listening to Frou Frou and was rear-ended by an obnoxious frat boy in a massive truck; Beauty In The Breakdown suddenly replaced by clanging metal and screeching tires. It was the car everyone knew to be mine because it always parked crooked.
And eventually it held my pregnant body as I drove to my doctor appointments. Eventually it held the car seat that we would be bringing our little boy home from the hospital in, the base snug and secure in the backseat where friends and backpacks once sat. A strange thing happened then, in that this car suddenly felt very small. It was likely the time I realized, once the bagboy opened my trunk to help me load the groceries into my car, that both a stroller and groceries do not fit in the trunk. Or the time we realized the sheer impossibility of my husband ever driving it, so long as Ethan is still rearfacing. Or the fact that it was cramped and crowded and lacked rear air conditioning which, in South Florida, in the summertime, feels more like a punishment and less first world problem than it initially sounds -- especially where a toddler is involved.
I've never been one to truly care about things of material value, especially not something like a car, but I've found myself having these Giving Tree moments lately whenever I catch a glimpse of my car sitting on the driveway of our home. I mentally apologize to the burgundy Mitsubishi baking in the hot sun, assuring it that I can forgive it for it's small trunk space and manual clock and one disc CD player. This morning as Ethan and I pulled into Starbucks to meet my dad for a morning coffee, a routine the Mitsubishi has seen so many times over the years, I wasn't expecting to learn I'd need four new tires put on this car. This old car. This stupid, old, small, money sucking car.
And as for now, I sit on the couch with eye bags, a hacking cough, no desire to put away the laundry in the drier, a general annoyance towards cars and everything that never wants to go my way, a prayer that four new tires is the last thing this car needs for a while. And a headache because, please believe, I have one of those, too.