My car died this week. For the third time this month.
It’s like Lazarus on Ground Hog Day. Which would be funny if it weren’t making me so nuts.
You see, Faith (Old Faithful) is flirting with 300,000 miles, and it has become a point of pride to get her there. It’s also been a point of budget to avoid replacing her, at least for a little while longer.
The first time she died I was devastated. Stranded in a Walgreens parking lot, I screamed and cursed, then begged her to forgive me, then said a little prayer…and by some miracle she started one more time.
I made it to my house and waited for my mom to come into town from LaGrange to do the loaner car shuffle. We ended up making a great evening of it. I introduced her to Taco Luchador and we took a walk through the garden when I dropped her back on the farm. She sent me home with fresh strawberries and a big hug. It felt like everything would be okay.
Until I arrived back at my house, took up my evening post on the porch, and began to think about Faith.
I was upset because she had been my road warrior adventure partner for years. We’d been to New Orleans and back at least nine times, and there was still plenty of glitter to prove it. (You can never fully get rid of glitter.) We had some good times.
Then while driving down memory lane something else struck me. The real reason I was so emotional. Why I was shedding actual tears over six cylinders of rust and a sunroof. Faith had been more than my wheels. She’d been my vehicle of freedom during the hardest time of my life.
Anyone who has been following #Fleurish over the past year knows that I am a cancer survivor. I lived with my family during that season of life, and while it was an enormous blessing to have care after every surgery and constant support through everything, it was also very hard for someone as independent as me.
There was a time when I couldn’t even wash my hair alone. For three months, I met my mother in the kitchen every morning at 6AM, held cloths over my evolving surgery sites, and submitted to her washing the rest of my head before work. Humbling is an understatement of the experience.
When I felt trapped in those handicapped routines and desperate to escape stares on the streets, I got in Faith, filled up the tank, and drove. I rolled the windows down, blasted the radio and sang at the top of my lungs, or screamed or cried. Whatever I needed to do. She always kept the secrets of those drives and I never held back while driving. She was my safe place, and the only place that was mine, where no one else could be unless invited.
This realization set off next level waterworks and I sat on the swing sipping Diet Coke and praying a fix under $500 could be found to give us a little more time. I wasn’t ready to let her go, even though knew it was time.
She’s been revived and died twice more since then and with each near explosive overheating I get a little more ready to say goodbye. Partly because I’m tired of smelling like boiling antifreeze and because the thought of being that poor soul stranded on the Watterson is terrifying. But also because I will miss my inanimate friend.
Whenever I do hand in the keys for good, whether that’s next week or next month or tomorrow, I will treasure the miles we logged letting it all out. She kept me…ME, when it would have been easy to lose me, too. And for that, I’m forever grateful.
It’s #NationalBourbonDay, so I think it’s appropriate to raise a glass of the finest in my cabinet, to Faith, the almost Immortal Honda, Goddess of the Road…and all the other things that are more than things on this journey. Cheers.