The car sat forlorn at the edge of the gravel lot. It was at the end of a long life, a long, eventful life. It was already an older car by the time the twin towers had collapsed, already old when the second space shuttle exploded in flight and left a train across the morning sky.
It was meant to be so different, so much more. The car had been built to order, a unique model – the only one at this trim level with a sunroof. The owner, a recently married young man with brains and a six-month old child was buying his first ever new car. The world was full of promise and potential.
And the young man drove and loved the car. He washed it every weekend, vacuumed it out lovingly and kept it looking fresh and new. He drove it to work, listened to the radio, and proudly showed it off to his friends. The car sparkled and shone – black cars might look better in the shade, but this car looked good in the sunshine as well.
And then the young man turned the car over to his wife. She needed it more. She was home with a new baby, as well as the rapidly growing young boy who was almost as new as the car. So the young man gave the car to her and went back to driving the old car. He changed jobs, to support his growing family, traveled more – even half way across the country at one point – to provide for his family.
She tried to take care of the car. Sometimes she missed washing the car, and it was too hard with two children to vacuum the car when there was so much else to do. Meanwhile, the young man – now not quite as young as he once was – worked harder and longer to provide for his family. He drove the old car to and from the train that he took into the city. Eventually he found a job close enough for him to walk.
And so it went. A third child came. More jobs with longer hours filled the man’s days, and the car was no longer washed, no longer cared for. There was just no time any more. Weeks and weeks would go by without the man driving the once new car, and when he did drive it, it was only to take care of his ever growing family and their needs. Children grew. Premature rust marred the cars now dull black paint. Parts that should last forever suddenly required replacement.
One day the man bought the wife a new car, a shiny new car that more adequately fit the needs of an on-the-go stroller mom, her dynamic children and their busy lifestyles. The wife told the man that her brother would borrow the car she no longer needed, just for a week, while he searched for a new one. The man agreed – after all, his wife’s brother had always been good to him, it was the least he could do.
Time passed. The children grew more. The man and his wife separated. It had been a long time coming, and though it was hard, the man felt in his heart that it was better for both of them. He asked for the car back from her brother, so long after that first week had expired. He now needed it to get from his mother’s house to work. It took another few weeks, but the car came back.
It was a shadow of its former self. Rusted and barely running. The interior was grimy from years of not being washed. The muffler was falling off. The tires were bald, brakes were worn, the suspension shot.
The car was used up, spent. He took it to the scrap yard, parked it at the end of lot and went in to the office to make arrangements for it. When he stepped out half an hour later, he looked down the row of cars – a row of broken dreams.
His dreams sat forlorn at the edge of the gravel lot. They were at the end of a long life, a long, eventful life. They were already empty by the time the twin towers had collapsed, already lost when the second space shuttle exploded in flight and left a train across the morning sky.