December 30, 2020 – from almost 200,000 miles later

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This was the year the world became suddenly reduced and the one that asked me to exist, at last and without choice, inside a thoughtful little life of my very own making. That’s why I finally sold my car. The small and golden two-door called Echo, the model that hadn’t been made again in the fifteen years since I bought it.

 

I’d held on for so long that my boyfriend’s mom said I had a weird attachment. She said she didn’t understand it, to which I responded yes. To which I said: try me.

 

I told her I’d stopped wanting to travel very far and tried to say why, that it’s because I’d become more content in my life. That it’s what happens once the road has stopped unraveling out ahead of you. Instead I relented, said I’d scaled down my goals, that success looks like walking.

 

***

 

After the city’s first winter storm of the season, I used a small but mighty snow shovel to clear my car from under a stubborn shrouding of ice. I was getting it ready to take to its new owner, a woman heading to Vegas with a small dog she called Rice Grain.

 

I’d freed the wheels and cleared something of a path forward when Peter ran down from our apartment to help. He took over the shoveling and I got in the driver’s seat, pressing into the gas, spinning the back wheels as I tried to maneuver from the street spot I’d backed into.

 

The tires squealed and two older men, neighbors neither of us knew, gathered on the sidewalk to watch. One was small and alert, smoking a cigarette, and the other was big, slumping his weight into the face mask he was wearing, leaning in intently as if closer than he was. And both of them were laughing.

 

Peter waved a hand at them, a quick smile spread across his face. He said hello and then I smirked too, as at once the car slid forward from where it was stuck, at how well timed that was. All my old options dug free, soon to be made into entirely other ones—my car and I both given new lives this year.