Your car


Crossing the parking lot with you, I see it before I recognize it. I’m not a car girl, so it’s easily the oldest car that I’ve ever laid eyes on. It’s rusty white.

You are beaming. This is your moment. A vintage ’66 Mustang and a date with your long-lost girl? What more could make your dreams come true?

You want me to get into this? I think. Is it safe? I wonder. I am so clueless on the coolness factor.

You, bursting, hold the door open for me, help me into the worn vinyl bucket seat. That old car smell, so evocative, sears into my memory. That smell, it’s you. The you who could be anything, the you who could do everything, the you that I knew so long ago and did not yet know.

To you, this is your moment in the sun. This is really, truly it for you. Your last first date. You are shining. And that car, that terrible, awful car, is everything to you. It tells your story writ large and symbolic. You’ve done it. You’re out, you’re free. You’re an adult, and this car proves it. And my existence here in your car proves it. So I settle into my bucket seat and hold on for the ride.

7 thoughts on “Your car

  1. I miss that musty old car smell – a bit of mildew and a hint of uncatalyzed exhaust – and how it always clung to our clothes. I long for the rumble of a raw V-8 engine – noisy at idle, so loud as to make all conversations a shout at highway speeds. That car had character – a hood half the length of a football field, a shifter without markings, lap belts only. And the engine, tuned to make the rear wheels chirp at 45 when I mashed the gas at the light and it shifted into second gear. Always wondering when I turned the key if it would actually start.

    Yes, I beamed. I was 19, played guitar in a band, and had a vintage Mustang I partially restored myself. I never got around to actually restoring the body, but having you with me in it was a trifecta of awesomeness for me nonetheless.

    I was proud of that car. I was cool in that car. I loved that car, almost as much as I love you.

    Was it safe? Undoubtedly not. If I count the number of times that car should have killed me, I’m pretty sure I’m a cat.

  2. Last first date is excellent. Nice capture of her doubt.
    and the Mustang… *sigh* … doesn’t get any better.

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