It’s just a car.
I used to think that about pretty much anything with four wheels and that got you from point A to point B. A car is just something that allows you freedom and is there at your convenience, right? Not to mention, it sometimes creates an infinite hole in your wallet. If it doesn’t have two eyes and a heartbeat, by medical terminology, it doesn’t exist; It’s not alive.
Then I met Winston.
Winston is a super cute and endearing 2007 Volkswagen Passat. He comes with all the bells, whistles, and has the most handsome owner. He purrs like a little lion, and drives like a gazelle. Winston can heat your tush like a stovetop and keep you cozy. I also discovered during one of my first rides in Winston, that he has a little taco compartment that always hangs open (how many cars do you know have a taco holder? Yeah, that’s what I thought). He has so many one of a kind qualities, and now that we have to say goodbye, I realized how many times I took him for granted.
It’s just a car though, right? Why am I so emotional and distraught over something that doesn’t have a heartbeat? Why, why, why the tears? Because a car isn’t just a car. It is who you are, at least for the moment. Inside your car, there are crumbs on the carpet and tin foil balls in the middle compartments, and Monster Energy cans forgotten under the seats. More importantly, there are those conversations you had while driving, the music you played, the swear words brought on by road rage, the tears you cried. There are road trips, the time you wiped away her tears, the late nights at Tommy J’s, and the summer you lost yourself. All of those memories are there, embedded in that car as if trapped in amber.
I have Winston to thank for allowing me to allow him to be the car that escorted me around with my best friend last summer. I have many vivid memories of him, but there is one in particular that I want to tell you about, the memory that is making it the hardest to say goodbye to.
I was parked in a stray park and ride across the truck stop on the treacherous highway 23 hill. It was very late, yet very early (being 2 in the morning I’ll let you decide). I was sobbing my troubled brown eyes out, creating problems in my mind that didn’t exist, and secretly hoping that Winston would come and save me from this heart ache, but I had convinced myself that it was a fantasy thought and no one would come for me. I desperately needed comfort, Winston, my best friend who I had so many feelings for, and a tissue. I had decided that I wasn’t going to go home that night. I couldn’t bear going home and sulking back into my tear soaked bed and darkness of my bedroom, so I proceeded to sit in my car and let my washed out makeup stain my baggy Goodwill sweatshirt. Every car that passed by the parking lot, I hoped was Winston and his driver, CJ. Car after car, headlight after headlight, nothing. The summer air was chilly, and the Wisconsin night sky was starry. As a typical depressed human being would do, I turned up the volume on an already depressing playlist and drowned out my thoughts, sobbing harder each time the chorus came around. All of a sudden, a pair of bright headlights whipped behind me in the parking lot and I sat straight up. I was obviously afraid. It was the hour of the night where serial killers lurk and here I am, a vulnerable woman with no way of defending herself, sitting in an unlocked car, in the middle of bum-fuck-no-where. Although I wasn’t sure how he would respond, I immediately texted CJ and told him about my current situation. I waited a few seconds to see if he opened the text and would magically come to my rescue. Nothing. Nothing but the blinding headlights that were now pulling up beside my car. I peered over my left shoulder and realized what was happening. Winston and CJ were here. They had come for me. They were fighting for me. Someone saved my life tonight, sugar bear. Not only did CJ come with a shoulder to cry on, tissues, and Birthday Cake Oreos, but he came with Winston. The dynamic duo two rocked me back to safety, to comfort, and in that moment, I realized that a car really is not just a car.
The truth is, a car does have a heartbeart. It has a pulse because it’s allowed other people to experience all kinds of emotions. Contrary to what science states, a car is alive. Winston, thank you for spending your miles on me. Thank you for keeping me warm in the late nights. Thank you for letting my tears hit your floor and my smiles to reflect in your side mirrors. Most of all, thank you for being a part of my life that I will never forget.