My best friend in college drove a little blue car that barely ran. To this day, I’m still convinced there was a hole in the floorboard that we kept covered with a mat. But she had a car, and I didn’t, and she was my best friend. So her car was family. It was small and rusty and faithful. It took us everywhere, most often to hardcore shows. One weekend, we wanted to get to a show a few hours away but the little blue car needed an oil change. We did what all broke college students do and did it ourselves, with the little blue car up on the curb of our apartment building.
The little blue car that barely ran took us to visit boys we hoped might save us from ourselves, and it helped us escape when we learned we were terribly wrong. That car taught me how to take quick and efficient naps when others are driving around town, a skill for which I’m grateful now. The little blue car that barely ran taught me how to harmonize. I will never forget what it feels like to sing at the top of my lungs, windows down, heat blasting on a cold winter night. That’s when you know you’re living, when you look over at your best friend and she’s singing right along with you and the world could end right then and you’d never even notice. The little blue car that barely ran taught me about community, friendship, and generosity, and about all of the yummy late-night eateries in town.
My last memory of riding in the little blue car that barely ran is perhaps my fondest. I’d recently signed up for a six month missions trip and was planning to take a semester off of school. I had moved out of our apartment and back into my parent’s house to get ready. My best friend was leaving me behind in school, and I was leaving her behind to travel the world. I’d met a man I knew I wanted to marry, too. My best friend and I, we knew things were changing and they’d never be the same again. So one last trip we took, in the little blue car that barely ran. It was June, and it was hot. The windows were down and it was loud on the highway, so we didn’t speak. It was too loud and windy for music, even. Both of us leaned forward slightly, trying to keep the sweat from seeping through our clothes. Nearly two hours passed, and not a word was spoken. As I turned my head to pull window-whipped hair out of my mouth, I caught her eye. We cried together, in that little blue car that barely ran. She was the sister I never had, and our lives were about to change forever.