It was a 1982 Honda Prelude. Blue exterior, beige leather interior, a sunroof. It must have been a snazzy ride in 1982, but this was 1994. Still it was a car. My first car, and a 12-year-old Honda is better than no Honda at all.
I was young, maybe 18 when my mother gave it to me. It had previously been hers. She bought herself another car and gave me the Prelude primarily because she was tired of picking me up and dropping me off at my shitty telemarketing job. So her freedom ensured mine.
I doubt that she anticipated what would come with giving me the Honda. The light nights, the broken curfews, the red blurry eyes. The slight smell of marijuana that was ever present in my car. The constant sound of Wu Tang’s 36 Chambers always blaring. I used it for my first road trip. I listened to Biggie’s first album in it, I was in it when I found out Tupac died.
The Honda met with an untimely demise after about a year. I was leaving work at a local clothing store where I was gigging for the day. I tried to make a U-turn without looking and hit another car. An axle was broken, it wouldn’t drive. I called a guy that I was dating, he had AAA but we couldn’t find a payphone. So we left it, assured that it would be there when we got back. It wasn’t. Someone stole it by towing it away, and I never saw it again.
20 years later, I surprised my own 18-year-old daughter with her own car. It brought my freedom and her own. It brought loud music, late nights, and red eyes. It was a 2002 Mitsubishi Galant in 2014, but like me at 18, my kid also knew that a 12 year old car is better than no car at all.
I live in New York City now. Years and years later. I take trains everywhere that I go, with the occasional indulgence of a taxi or Uber. I miss driving sometimes. I miss the personal freedom that comes with getting up and going, at your own speed.
Sometimes I miss that Honda. Sometimes I miss the girl who drove it.