toyota corolla 1992
March 27, 2002 06:08 PM

Said Red Molly to James
That's a fine motorbike
A girl could feel special on any such like

I was sick on the last day of real school, senior year of high school. I was sick, and I was cranky.

That morning my parents, mean parents, left me to stew in my sleepy snot. They went to run errands, and I went back to bed.

And they came back, a few hours later, with a houseguest in tow. But not a usual houseguest. This was Oliver, also known as my car. My own car, and all the symbolism you can derive from that.

This was my parents making good on a two year old bet. I'd bargained, half-joking, for them to buy me a car if I ended up academically first in my class. Something I'm sure they never guessed would happen, but it did. And they made good.

As any teenager faced with not only a newish car, but an entirely surprising newish car, I was instantly cured.

Said James to Red Molly
My hats off to you
It's a Vincent Black Lightning 1952

I drove that car to graduation. I drove it all over that summer. I drove it to your house and the beach. We got sand in the seats and mud on the floor. And the night before I left for college (a scant forty-five minutes from home), we sat together in that car and sang and cried.

I drove back from college to the beach, new friends in tow. Drove to another state to watch the sun set on a mid-January evening. Collected souvenirs and tucked them in its pockets.

With the assortment of clothes and shoes and everything else I kept in that car, I could have lived in it. And when my younger friends left town, I mastered the art of switching feet while driving, so I could go on without pause, speeding into the Appalachians.

I set the backseat on fire, an accident that became an anecdote (It wasn't even my own cigarette!). It was the car that made distance disappear. Temporarily, at least, it was a magic car.

And I've seen you at the corners and cafes it seems
Red hair and black leather, my favorite color scheme
And he pulled her on behind
And down to Knoxville they did ride

It was the car we sat in for hours the night I fell for the boy who would turn out to be the only boy. The car I drove to my first real job. The one I packed my most cherished things in when I moved to my first real apartment. The one that drove the cat home from the SPCA (which is, I imagine, a little like bringing a new baby home).

It's the car I still drive today, nearly nine years and one hundred twenty thousand miles later. When everyone else has replaced the hooptys of their college years (even my best friend, whose Saab gave up the ghost a couple of years ago) and graduated to polished, fiberglass bubbles of cars, I'm still driving a car from the last year Toyota made little efficient boxes.

Over time, I've covered it with bumper stickers, an obscure vanity plate, an occasional ding or dent (the poor car seems to be a magnet for abuse by other cars while it's parked, though we've never been in an accident). It's a bicentennial car in a Sequicentennial Robot sort of way, having outlived peers and had most of its insides replaced.

This year, I forgot the exact day of my anniversary with the boy, but I doubt I'll forget the car's tenth birthday.

Because it's my car. And when I eventually have to give it up. When it just won't work, or won't work well anymore, I'll cry like a baby as I turn it over to the dealership, or the junkyard.

Said James in my opinion
There's nothing in this world
Beats a '52 Vincent and a red-headed girl
Now Nortons and Indians and Greeves won't do
Ah they don't have a soul like a Vincent '52

this entry was a response to this month's on display topic: "describe someone you love".

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