She sits in the lot at CarMax, her dark gray exterior even darker against the overcast winter sky in Maryland.
I blink back tears, then head inside to sign her away.
“Well, this is really easy,” the sales clerk says to me across his desk in the fluorescent lit office. “Just sign here and here, and then we will pay off your loan and give you a check for the difference.”
My mom sits next to me. I turn to her, my brown eyes watery.
“D, this is what you want,” she says, rubbing my leg.
Yes … but …
I take the pen and sign.
We walk back out into the nippy air and she’s gone. Gone. Whisked away before I could even let my fingers linger over her smooth body one last time.
I grab for my keys, out of habit, and sign when I realize the key FOB for her is no longer in my possession.
Mom and I pile into her car and sit there for a second.
“You OK?” she asks.
It’s not like I’ve lost something huge. But, my car … she’s gone.
“Yeah,” I breathe. “I guess … well … now it is final. I’m really an expat when I sell my car.”
Yes, my sweet little Prius that I have loved for five years … gone. Taken into the depths of CarMax, hopefully to reemerge loved by someone who loved her as much as I did, even though I never gave her a name. But, rest assured, the Prius was most definitely a “her.”
For five years, she was my partner in crime. My friend. I’d sit in her comfortable seat, drive along on a soundless ride, challenge myself to use battery power versus the engine. She’s been my faithful companion on two major road trips. But more importantly, she’s seen me on the best and worst days in my life.
As we drive away from the dealer on my last night in Maryland, memories of my car run through my head. Sitting and toying with the little bubble in the steering wheel when the car was parked and I would just sit on my phone, talking through my bluetooth. Singing at the top of my lungs to whatever song would cheer me up. Hauling my life from Las Vegas to Maryland. Driving down Las Vegas Blvd. with travelers packed into my car listening to Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights.” In fact, most songs I hear involve a memory of driving in that car.
I’m not a very materialistic person. I don’t get attached to things easily. But, Prius (OK, we’ll name her that), she was mine. She was the first thing I had ever invested in. The first thing, other than my cats, I was truly responsible for. In a way, she was my real passage into adulthood. Not moving to Vegas, not getting a job, but owning a car.
But, at the end of the day, she was expensive. Really, really expensive. And, living in Thailand with no expected return date to the States? Well, there’s is no reason to continue to pay off a loan when I don’t even get to enjoy driving her.
There are times now in Chiang Mai when I will see a Prius drive by, silent in its passing, and I will smile to myself and think of the memories I have of my girl. Then, I look around at where I am and know I made the right decision. Hopefully, little Prius is making someone else as happy as she made me.