I sold my car. I am parted—permanently—from something cherished, from something that had grown to be a part of me, a mechanical appendage, something that really felt all mine. There is an empty pit where it used to be.
Loss is not for youth. Acquisition and the requisite excitement are for youth. When I bought my car, I was a jittering teenager, clapping and skipping, grinning widely at the old man who sold it to me. He gravely signed the papers, gave it one last pat, and watched it make for its new home. He remembered buying it, remembered sitting in it for the first time after acquiring it, remembered Saturday mornings washing it, remembered taping bits of it back together post-kangaroo and post-garage door encounters, remembered adventures lasting days growling down endless dusty highways, with flat tyres and sticky speedo and faltering electrics.
Now I am that old man, and I have exchanged my rough, rusty sidekick for a wad of fifties. I have handed over the keys—clasped by St Christopher—as they were handed to me. I have seen things and done things, tasted my first freedoms, but find myself on the other side, lonelier and more subdued. I suppose this makes me older and wiser, a car-selling sage, who knows that loss follows gain, that parting is as integral to life as exhaling after drawing breath. Like learning to own something for the first time, I am learning its mirror. I am back where I started, but I have a secret bundle of learnings and memories tucked away. I will hold them tight on the old man’s side.
But I saw the spark in the young man’s eye when it roved across the dulled, striped frame. ‘It’s beautiful,’ he said, and I knew he meant it as much as I did. ‘Car drove wonderfully and was great on fuel,’ his text gushed, and I knew his words were true.
Where I can give no more, more can now be given. My car gets on without me, but most importantly, it gets on.