“I couldn’t even explain to you how good it feels to look up across a room and see you standing there.”
I don’t know if you’ve ever seen this quote, presumably about the love of some 15-year-old’s life, but I think about it every time I see my car across the parking lot. Cora the Corolla is my pride and joy, and she is what makes me happy.
Two months ago I realized no one was going to walk up to me on the street and hand me a car. I resorted to Craigslist, and after sending out enough emails to fill the heavens I finally heard back from Matt. Matt was selling a 2004 red Corolla for his friend. I chose to believe his friend was in prison, and that I was buying Cora from a felon because I could give her a better life. This was a lot like a Big Brothers Big Sisters program, and I was in.
Considering that I was on my way to meet a Craigslist stranger and his car, I should have been thinking, “Let me make sure he’s not lying. I need my brain to be a filter, not a sponge.” Instead, I had already accepted Cora, flaws and all. I knew she was coming into this with baggage but I was ready to love her exactly as she was.
My dad and I took Cora out for a test drive and Matt came with us. He was worried that I was a terrible driver and that we were going to steal the car. Two valid fears — way to be thinking, Matt.
Cora had been through a lot, you could tell. She was covered in scratches. The rearview mirror was chipped. There was an unexplainable dent on the roof. But what is “perfection” other than a destructive societal concept, anyways?
My dad made sure everything worked while I pictured our lives together. Matt told us someone else was looking at the car that night. I’m going be honest, that hurt. My life had become Beyoncé’s “Jealous,” and I resolved to do whatever it took to get this car. My dad told him we would take some time to think, because he’s sensible, and doesn’t tell people that he would do whatever it takes to get a car. We make a good team.
Later that day, Matt called off the other person who was looking at the car. Cora and I had become exclusive. I now understand why people are in relationships, because the knowledge that Matt only wanted to sell his car to me was enough. That night as I was falling asleep, I did not count sheep. I counted little Cora the Corollas driving off into the desert.
Although I had already sold my soul to the idea of owning Cora, it all came down to Wednesday. A man named Phil who is a professional at making sure such transactions aren’t shady business deals held my destiny. Twenty minutes and a fair amount of pretending to follow the conversation later, the verdict was clear: Cora and I were golden. Enter a whole lot of me fist pumping while my dad repeated, “Do you realize how much this is going to cost you?”