He’s looking for a new car. Not really new per say, but the one he wanted to buy after graduating college and landing his first tech job. Honda S2000, a rare, sporty little convertible that he had test driven once and desired ever since.
Instead of his dream car, with his first weighty check in Kansas City he bought an Acura RSX Type-S in blue. A few years later, he drove back home to the west coast with all his meager bachelor belongings packed into it. It was the car he took me out to the movies in on our first date. I grew to recognize the deep thrum of that engine coming down the road, the downshift as he approached the driveway.
We had our first kiss standing behind that car. Our third date, after dinner in the parking lot, before he went to his door, I grabbed his hand.
“Sung, wait,” I said.
He turned, unsure of what I was asking. I pulled myself closer to him and laid my hand on his cheek, staring into his eyes as he caught his breath, realizing the moment I had suddenly arranged.
I leaned in for the kiss, my hand sliding from his warm, broad cheek to the back of his head, the thick black hair between my fingers. His arms wrapped around me, pulling me closer. He gave into the kiss, and for a moment, seemed to forget we were standing in a parking lot.
As we parted, his cheeks glowed with a barely contained smile. “Thank you,” he breathed, as if I had taken a burden of responsibility off his shoulders and given him an affirmation that he desperately needed.
The Acura is in his favorite shade of blue, and no other blues will do. After a dinner, both of us mildly drunk on cocktails and collapsed into a hotel lobby’s couch, we held hands and he examined my painted nails.
“You should paint them blue, to match my car,” he suggested with an amused smile, his cheeks flushed with color. I laughed, but I later found a shade in my collection close to that deep cobalt blue with a light shimmer and painted my nails as he suggested.
That beautiful blue Acura with all the labor and time and money he poured into making it what he wanted it to be was a portal to a better life for me. To building a relationship. To recovering from abuse. To escaping poverty. It took us to the places and experiences we shared, that loud, high-strung beast contained in a sleek blue shell. I loved the way the vibrations traveled through my core as he revved the engine.
I get sentimental about these things. The ritual of doing my make-up, my hair, dressing up, and slipping on high heels to see him, even if all we had planned was some takeout and watching Netflix on his couch. When I moved in and we settled into domesticity, I missed these things. I even miss his one-bedroom apartment where we first made love.
It isn’t that we lack love or peace, but the raging fires of passion have settled into the smoldering embers that warm a hearth. He bought me a Toyota RAV4 Hybrid, a practical car for commuting, for getting groceries, and for dirt roads to adventures he wouldn’t risk his beautiful blue Acura on. A practical car to load a car seat into and protect our future family.
And now, he thinks it’s time to get himself that dream car too. Maybe he’ll sell the Acura, it would be the practical choice. I want him to be happy, to get this car he’s dreamed of since college that he can now afford to buy. But selfishly, I don’t want him to sell the Acura. It hurts my heart to think of letting this thing go where we made so many memories. It’s only an object and the memories are in my head. We can make new memories in a new car, as we have in our home and our practical family car and everything else we’ve done. But perhaps, I fear letting go of the things that encapsulate these memories, because without something tangible to hold on to, something to anchor them too, they will fade into the aether of memory and I will never feel them again as I felt them when they were new.
The original version was written as an exercise for a non-fiction writing class. A little something between the concrete details of objects and the abstract of memories. I get sentimental over objects and the memories attached to them.
When I wrote this, Sung was debating purchasing the S2000 he wanted and found a seller in Alabama, of all places. We took a weekend trip down to Birmingham, checked out the car, and he decided to buy it. It was shipped home, and a few weeks later, we drove it home from the place it had been delivered. We still have the Acura! Sung still dithers on his choice to get the S2000, and if we sell one, it may actually be that one, once he fixes it up a bit more. Maybe dream cars aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.