Prompt: My first car…
Time: 15 minutes

My first car was named Matilda. She was a ’91 Dodge Spirit, technically maroon (but really more of a dirt brown), boxy and spunky and reliable—an old lady of a car. She came from a shady, fat used car dealer whose name was Skippy or Bub. She was the means of independence, of freedom, of excitement, as cars are to young people who grow up in small, spread-out towns. Her windshield wipers would fail, her shocks would fail, and ultimately, her brakes would fail, but she still felt reliable, like it must have been something I did to anger her, like that was her way of showing me. Maybe it was the wrong air freshener or maybe it was one bumper sticker too many. Maybe it was the 9,000-mile road trip—when the air conditioning failed and the console of our portable radio melted in the Arizona heat—maybe it was a couple miles too many. Or maybe it was just a machine. A machine a little worse for the wear. How do we become so attached to metal, plastic, rubber? We become attached to the people we became in our first cars, to the places they bring us, to the people that share the journey. Was I crazy, strange, just plain silly for pulling over to savor the 100,000-mile mark, to take a picture of the odometer? Or was I just celebrating my own 100,000 miles? And how Matilda helped me get there.