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I found my car in a very sad corner of Pohanka Collision Center’s lot- the place where cars are forgotten. I brushed off the vines hanging on the roof like tired limbs as I made my way to the back to remove it’s identity- “RZN2025”. As I circled the car in a melancholy daze I relived the memories that were all but written in the golden paint. The time I flooded the engine trying to drive through a hurricane to pick Larry up from class. The time I drove 14 hours to see a girl just one… more… time. The joy rides to Wrightsville Beach with some hooligans in the back seat and life in front of me. Ahh the good old days. I was instantly frightened back into the moment when a cat jumped out from behind the back tire. He took a few long strides before turning back to examine me. What business did I have in the shadows? This was his property now.
You realize how relative time is when you try to recap eight years. If I asked you “how were the last eight years?” I guarantee that you wouldn’t respond by saying “they were 2920 days.” Time only exist as the clock defines it in the present or immediate future. You know it’s 12 am, you know you have to get up in 6 hours, but you don’t think much past that. The past is built of memories, the future of goals and hopes, and the present of choices. Being aware of that can help you grasp perspective on many of the things that you worry about on a day-to-day basis.
Eight years was 5 towns, 7 albums, 9 jobs but only 1 car.
A couple weeks ago I lost my go-to never have I ever statement— “never have I ever been in a car accident”— when I hydroplaned across traffic, barely missing a tree and sliding down a hill heading right towards a river. The bushes stopped my car a few yards before I got to swim for the first time this summer. Ev and I pushed the doors open, our worlds still spinning, and crawled back up to the main road. The cops had already arrived. What just happened?
I traced my tire marks up the hill, next to the tree, over the streetlight that hadn’t been fully constructed yet (thank God) and across the road. It looked like the trail from a figure skater. So many things could have gone wrong. How did we not flip? One second we were on our way to a party talking about how good life is and the next we were at the mercy of that pencil in the sky that puts the period on your sentence. Don’t worry momma it was just a comma.
A lot happened to me in the last eight years and the Stratus was there through it all. If you know me you know it and most likely have some kind of story to go along with your memory. I invite you to share your story as a comment to this blog.
I finished cleaning out my belongings and walked away. I paused at the gate of that lot and considered going back for a few more pictures. Naa, don’t do it. One more flashback to 18 year old Mike using every dime he saved working at Panera for 3 years to buy his first car and I was gone, ready for my next test drive.