at the very last second, I can change direction
I don’t have pictures yet, because we drove it off the lot at 9pm, but it looks a lot like this:
It’s a 2002 Honda Civic SI. Decently low miles. Speedy as heck, if you drive it that way. I’m more conservative. Jeremy and I were both driving really shaky old cars– mine can be repaired, his is basically rolling scrap metal– and we’re gonna split this car. I get to commute in it, he can use it to drive Sadie around, and we can take road trips and go out driving without feeling like we’re gambling with our lives every time. Well, no more than anyone else on the road.
It’s such a weird feeling to walk into a dealership and drive away in a shiny, new (to us) car. We’ve talked about who gets it if we break up, how we’re gonna pay for it, and how everything I thought I knew about driving is apparently wrong. He wants to joyride on back roads. I’m thrilled that the brakes work and it has all its windows.
It’s both a good choice and a fun one. It’s a 5-speed, lightweight, easy to handle. It has a surprising amount of power. It all feels so terrifyingly adult.
This past week has, actually, brought that feeling up a lot, like I’m faking being a grownup. I made a real effort to hang out with Sadie this week, and Jeremy was thrilled by how engaged I was. I cooked dinner, I helped her pick out a helmet and learn to ride a bike, and we both played with her on the playground. I was trying to act like a step-parent, to see how it felt. And it felt like I was pretending. Pretending well, apparently, but still… I don’t know how to do this. I’ll learn, maybe, sure, as much as anyone does before the kid changes and you have to adapt to that. After the playground, I carried her home IN MY ARMS because she was tired. And she smiled the whole way. And she wasn’t heavy. We got back inside and I made food and we felt like a family and I felt like at any moment the bubble would burst and someone would tell me that this isn’t my life and I don’t have any right to it.
Same with the car. It’s not just MINE, it’s OURS. And more than that, it’s responsibility. We signed form after form, handed money over, agreed to make payments and get insurance and all that jazz. We turned down the warranty. We had to sign something about that, too.
And then, since we’d arrived in Jeremy’s truck, I drove it home. Cruising along at 62mph in a 55 zone, all my fear melted away for a few minutes, and I took that car around corners and on straightaways, loving the way it just… worked. I like having a manual transmission again, even though Jeremy thinks I have a lot to learn about driving it because he’s a pedantic jerk. I like those moments when the “what the hell did we just do?” feeling fades and I actually feel like an adult who can handle things.
I guess I do have a lot to learn.