For most, getting your first car opens up a new world of freedom and allows you to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Getting a car did all this for me, but it also brought my best friend and me closer. Then it tore us apart.
My best friend lives three minutes from my house. Since she has a late summer birthday, I basically became her chauffeur when I turned 16 in December, seven months ahead of her.
And so I picked her up for school and took her home. We made ice-cream trips, went shopping and to the movies - all in my car. I would drive to her house just to sit on her bed, read magazines and have a good laugh. My visits to pick her up became so frequent that she gave me a key to her house.
She was with me a week after I got my license when I had my first accident. She was there and comforted me and we kept it our little secret, since I didn’t want people to know. From then on, through thick and thin, it was just me, my car and my best friend.
My car holds a lot of memories from the winter and spring of our sophomore year through the summer and into the fall. See, my car isn’t anything special, but my friend waited three months after her birthday to get her dream car: a green 2004 Beetle. With its arrival, the passenger seat of my car became vacant.
High school is a time of change and figuring out who you are, but I couldn’t understand for the longest time how, after being inseparable, we became so distant. After she got her own car, our shopping sprees and driving trips became less frequent until I never even drove down her street.
It’s funny how a car can change a relationship so much. I had wanted her to get a car, but once she did, I regretted it. I wanted her friendship back, even if it couldn’t be the same.
And so, after volunteering together one Saturday, I decided we needed to talk. She admitted that she had noticed the difference and missed the old times, just as I did. I then realized that I couldn’t cling to the past, and that she had no need to depend on me as she used to. Now, even though we drive separate cars, I still have her house key next to mine, just in case.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.