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Test Drive

If you haven’t figured it out already, this isn’t actually about a car. I guess you could say I take analogies to another level.

This is dedicated to you. ♥ And also to every girl who is figuring out who they are.

After walking mindlessly around the dealership all day long, I am utterly exhausted. I have looked through the entire lot. One car after another, one more unimpressive than the next. There were glimpses of promise, but once sitting in the driver’s seat, they felt cold & unwelcoming. I could not force myself to fall in love with them.

Back where I started now, I see a car sitting on a raised platform. I remember walking past it as I was busy in my search. It was noticeable, that’s for sure. It made its presence known to every customer that visited. I don’t know why I didn’t go up to it before this. Maybe it seemed out of my budget range, or too flashy and grand for me. I was the kind of girl who usually went for something more plain, & more safe. It looked like a fast car, a dangerous one. But it keeps calling my name. There’s something extremely appealing about it. I can tell that it’s good quality. I observe that other people are passing it over.. maybe they’ve read some bad reviews online about it, or it’s too harsh and loud for their taste.

But I can’t forget about it. I might as well take it for a test drive. After a series of disappointments, maybe I’ll catch a break here. I finally walk up to it & open the door..  and that is where my journey begins.

It feels so right when I’m in this car.. but why? It’s hard to explain. Maybe it’s the way it is made. Maybe it has a really good engine. Or maybe it’s being showcased very well, but out on the road, in real life, it’s not going to be the same – false advertising.. I’m kind of afraid to take it out on the streets because I don’t want to know the answer. I put the keys into the ignition… I’m listening to him, closely.. & I like what I hear. It sounds like an adventure.. it’s looking for a way out of the lot & onto bigger and better things. I sense this amazing presence when I’m near it. I’m attracted to that kind of confidence.

I pull out of the parking lot & I am driving it perfectly. The steering wheel fits my hands like it was made for me. I feel 100% safe in it, something I’ve never felt in a car before. It’s treating me well. And, I think it has already made up its mind about me. It can tell what kind of woman I am, & what I really want. It seems to like me.

It’s a simple car to maneuver, but I still have many questions about it- there’s a lot I don’t know & that puzzles me. I feel that I’ll never know every single thing about it. How can this be? How can you know everything & nothing at the same time?

At moments I feel that it’s driving ME.. controlling me. Should I let go of the wheel? Is it going to guide me to where I need to go? I’m not ashamed to admit I’d like to relinquish some of my control to this car- I’m interested in being in that position. What if it takes me to places I’ve never been before? And what if I like it there? Maybe that makes me a bad driver and more so, a bad person. But after only spending a few minutes with the car, alone, I’ve figured out that’s exactly what I want as a woman. Others may look down upon me for thinking this, and that’s okay, too. They want a different model, & a different experience than I do.

Looking into the mirror at my own face, I like who I am in this car. I am confident, even though I’ve surrendered myself to it. I feel beautiful in this car, because I’m comfortable with it already. I don’t look into its mirror and see all that I’m not… but, I see all the potential I have, all my talents, & all my good points. I feel like I could drive across the country with it, in all kinds of weather. My eyes are glistening.

There’s a stop light up ahead… Uh oh, I think. We’ve been driving smoothly for so long, what’s going to happen once we stop? What will change? But, I’m able to break with ease. He sits there with me in silence, waiting for the green light and the chance to take off with me. When it happens, I accelerate on the gas pedal & feel my heart jolt. We speed ahead & we’re going a lot faster now. There is a nervousness inside me but I don’t want it to go away. My car keeps its distance from the others, but it’s also showing off. I’m smiling because I like knowing people are seeing me with him. Are they surprised? Maybe, maybe not.

Perhaps I was meant to drive a car like this one. But was he made for me? My subconscious shakes her head – I don’t think so. There are other drivers similar to me, or even ones who are a better match, and they too would give up control in return for guidance.

My subconscious is once again being all too honest-  I’m not one of a kind. I am not special. I’m not the only one who can provide what this car wants. Quickly dismissing these thoughts from my head, I continue on. I’m having too good of a time to think about that right now. Just enjoy the rideI want to focus on the next turn ahead, not anything beyond that.

Other drivers are staring at me, judging me. They’re talking. “What does she want with that car, anyway?” I hear the whispers… “She is foolish” …. “He’s toxic” “She shouldn’t get involved” The voices are getting louder… “Does she know what he really wants? Where he’s really taking her?” Oh… how strange. I have a feeling of doubt about him now. Should I listen to them? They say I deserve better… they are my friends, right?

No… no…. I tighten my grip on the wheel. I won’t listen. The only sound I hear is his wonderful engine. There is no doubt this is the car I want to buy. When I want something badly enough, I will pursue it, until I get it. I might not be able to keep him forever, but I sure as hell won’t quit halfway. No one’s changing my mind.

By this point, I have been with the car long enough to know little quirks about it, mistakes the manufacturer has made, and things that could be improved. It’s not perfect. I thought it was, upon first getting in it. But this makes me love it that much more. Because the driver…me… I am not perfect. I have flaws, more than I can count. And sitting in this seat, I’m able to look past all the mistakes, hoping it can look past mine. It wants to drive me, wants to show me things… & I’m ready to make my purchase. I’d be buying the car, but actually, it is going to own ME. What a thought. It sends shivers down my spine.

I make my way back to the dealership.. it’s strange how I don’t even recall the drive back. I think I must’ve been in a daze. But the car knew its way. I was excited, anxious, giddy… with so much hope in what the future holds. Today, I only got a taste of what he has to offer me, and I loved every minute of it. I can only imagine what our next ride together will be like. I’m already thinking about it.

I’m now sitting in the office filling out paperwork, and the car’s in the parking lot, still cooling off from our time together.

I’m staring at him through the window. He’s all I see now. No one else. Funny, isn’t it? How the whole day I spent in a sea of cars, I was so unhappy.. & he was right in front of me the whole time. ‘m giving him my heart.. and he’s giving me the answers I need. And so much more.

A man in a suit comes by & gets into my future car – he drives it around back to do some maintenance checks on it before the keys are handed over to me. The keys, oh… I can’t wait to hold them. They turn the corner, and I can’t see him any longer through the window.

Now it’s just me & everything on the table. I look down & I see words, lots of them. I’m getting lost in all of the paragraphs, numbers, and fine print. I feel overwhelmed. I guess when driving it around I didn’t realize what a burden this purchase could be. It’s worth it though, right? He must be. I swallow and frantically begin flipping the pages. The truth is becoming all too clear now. I can’t afford this, I think. I’m clicking my pen and looking around, but the room is empty. There is no one here to help me through this, explain things to me. I am alone in this mess that I made for myself. There has to be a way this will work out for me, right? Did I just test drive a car and fall in love with it, all for nothing? No, of course not. I feel my body temperature getting hotter. I read & re-read the same statements over and over to make sure I didn’t miss anything, read something wrong. I didn’t. I look up and out the window. Maybe if I look at him for a minute, he will reassure me that everything will be ok. He will calm me down, dismiss my insecurities…

But from where I am seated, he is no longer in my view.

I start to panic. I wouldn’t have even gotten inside the car if I knew I couldn’t afford it, right? I wouldn’t do that to myself, would I? Isn’t that self sabotage? The blank lines where I must sign my name are staring at me in the face.. there are tons of them. I put my head in my hands and I flip over the papers. I feel defeated. I pick up my purse and head for the door. There are people in the office calling out to me, trying to get my attention, get me to come back, but it’s all background noise. Things are becoming blurry. I keep on walking, in a rhythmic pace, with my head still, facing forward.

It hurts too much to look back.

I get into my old car, the same one I’ve been driving for years. I’m alone in it. It’s very quiet, a different silence than I’ve ever heard before. It does nothing for me. I’m in control of this car, & that’s never pleased me. It has only been weak, pathetic, and slow. I want so much more.

Out of the corner of my eye, I see him there, shining brightly. Tears are coming and I’m not trying to stop them. He was ready for me. And now I’m leaving. We hadn’t even begun yet. I never got to hold the keys and now I’m thinking I never will. But maybe this is what cars do to people every day? Is that their plan? To tempt, intrigue, & entrance.. to the point we are so in love, we go blind. Then when the spell is broken and reality sets in, we have no choice but to walk away. I watch from afar as the salespeople bring it back up onto the platform again, as if nothing had happened. Someone else will probably see what I see in him. He will enchant them, and they will fall in love. Just like I did.

It’s quite the game, isn’t it? But I’d play all over again, if that meant I could have that same feeling I did with him. I think I’ve found everything I’ve ever wanted in that moment… who knows when I’ll find it again?

2 months later:

Today, in the city, at a stoplight, I saw him. I blinked repeatedly.. I couldn’t believe my eyes. But there he was. The light was reflecting on him, & he looked stunning. I knew I would have to look in the driver’s window eventually. It was a woman. She looked relaxed, unaffected by all the traffic around her. She was probably listening to some nice music on that great radio of his, & singing along. She probably has been on road trips with him, on dirt paths, & on the freeway. She has gone places I haven’t with him, & in fact, she’s going somewhere now. But how come she didn’t walk away from it all? Is there something I’m missing? I wonder if she let him take control, or if she turned the tables on him. Perhaps, with her, he doesn’t get the power he wants so badly that I willingly gave him. I wonder.. does he miss me? Even remember me? Seeing him now, makes me want to not drive a car at all. Not for a long time. I’m telling myself that he doesn’t really want her, to make my wounds heal. It’s not working.

The sinking feeling starts & thats when I know, it’s true – lightning can strike once, but never twice, in the same place. Hanging onto my memories of him just might be worth it. But it’s not going to be easy. Maybe in the meantime – I will find a car I like just as much, for different reasons. And things will be okay. I might move on.

But maybe I’ll get a chance to step back into that car someday, & I’m telling you that if I do, I’m going to skip all the fine print, the cost breakdowns, the rules … I’m flipping all the way to the last page, signing my name, and taking the keys. Because I can’t risk another missed chance, another goodbye.

To be continued……………..

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