The car was more than just a car: of course, it symbolized everything that she had never had, everything that was now possible after her sweet sixteen. The freedom, the opportunities, and the endless possibilities every time she slid behind the wheel. She had wanted a convertible, but as her parents reminded her, it just wasn't practical in Seattle. And, they continued to lecture, she was
lucky enough to even have a car.
It didn't matter. Finally, she was a driver. Finally, she was older. Finally, she was free.
In her sixteen years she had never seen something so beautiful, even if the car was anything but. The scarlet paint was chipping and flaking, and each outing resulted in a new bare patch, especially since it never stopped raining in Seattle. It had been undesirable to its previous owner, and every other person to look it over, and yet to her, it was perfect. She grew attached to the cracked leather on the seats, the "old car" smell, and even bought tapes of her favorites CD's so she could listen in the car. The trunk could fit anything she could ever need, as long as she remembered to latch it properly with the bungee cord, since the original latch had broken off long ago.
She found new benefits from its hidden charm, as police would never think to pull her over (despite its usually dangerous red coloring, the car looked like it couldn't even make it over 50 mph, let alone exceed the limit in a residential area), and each dent in the front bumper had gained her another ten dollars off the asking price.
The day that she rolled up in front of school in her new ride was the day that the jokes started. In typical friend fashion, her best and closest buds were behind most of them. But she didn't care, or pretended not to, in any event, and went the extra mile to spruce it up. The fuzzy dice hanging from the rear view mirror were her favorite part, and the trash bucket and Kleenex box were just added necessities.
She had dreams of just turning over the engine, thundering down her street and never looking back. Whether or not she could actually afford the gas was beside the point. The fact remained that leaving was always an option, and it was strangely comforting.
Love is a strong word, just like hate, and although she was wary of using them both, she could outright say that she was in love with her car.
She had new found maturity, and it was a curious feeling to wake up and suddenly feel grown up. She felt unrestricted, free, in control. However, soon the joy that had originally spread so warmly through her life was overcast by a sinking overwhelmed spiral. It is possible, sometimes, to have too much of a good thing, and love is the same way.
Transportation is a doorway to a social life, she found, and she started to join in on anything, just for another excuse not stay at home. First came gatherings, which grew into parties, followed by the all night drinking haze that some students never get tired of. But she did.
Rain splashed and sprayed across the windshield of her car as she sped along the highway, her hand mimicking the action of the windshield wipers as tears flowed freely from her tired eyes. She had fled, gotten sick of the person she was turning into and had relied on the one thing that got her into that mess to get her out of it. Behind the wheel again, she was empowered, and her decision came easily.
At the next light, she made a U-turn. All at once, she was rocketing back toward home, and she felt alright with that. The sky began to clear, and the clouds sullenly parted to make way for the sun's first appearance in weeks.
Clipped to her visor were her sunglasses, fastened there out of sheer habit, as she hadn't needed to use them since summer. But now, she put them on, and jabbed her finger at the stereo, starting up the old Beach Boys tape her mom had found. As the red glare from the sun gleamed all around her, she was glad that for once, even with all of her new independence, her car was finally taking her somewhere worthwhile.