Arthur joined me on my journey in the summer of 2005 after my previous Chevy Cavalier met an untimely death involving a rogue gas pump. Arthur was sturdy, reliable, good on gas, never left me stranded, had comfortable seats, a great stereo, and was the car of my adult singleness. I loved him. I went everywhere in him. He and I traveled to Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Dallas, Atlanta, Nashville, Ruston, all over Arkansas, and were alone for 150,000 miles. I cried in that car, laughed in that car, talked to my sister on the phone almost every day in that car, and, oddly enough, got close to that car.
And then, last year, he started to fall apart. At first it was little things: a power window fuse here, a turn signal light there. Then, we had an accident and he lost his front bumper, but he would not be deterred. He was still the same car on the inside. And then the problems got bigger: a water pump here, a radiator there, alignment problems, overheating, air conditioning problems. It was time to do something that horrified me: we traded him in.
This past Saturday, we traded in the car of my singleness. We traded in the car that I made my own plans in, that I drove everywhere, that I loved, and that I cried in. We traded in the car that was only so big and would have barely held one car seat. And I cried. You see, I love being married. But more than the wedding ceremony, and the joint checking account and the sleeping in bed with a man, trading that car in cemented my growing up and becoming a wife. I’ve no longer got a car that’s zippy and good on gas with minimal storage and hardly any seating. Instead, I’ve got a full-sized sedan. A car with three car seat latches in the back seat, numerous cup holders, controls on the steering wheel for safety, and more air bags than I knew were possible. I’m driving the car of my future.
And just so you know, despite my love for my husband and my love for being his wife, I’m probably going to miss that car for a while. I’m probably even going to occasionally miss making all my own decisions. And then, I’ll get in my responsible car, next to my husband, drive to church, and get to worship next to my husband. I’ll get to have someone to ask when there’s a big decision to make, and someone who gets me. And then I’ll be thankful for my big, safe car all over again.