(based on a true story)
RIP Subaru Outback Legacy Wagon LL Bean Edition
We first adopted Sube in March of 2003, as healthy baby hatchback. I remember when we brought her home, so shiny and new, and her interior smelled like fresh lilacs in the summer. She loved her new garage, and proudly carried us around town. She made a new friend with “Baby Car,” the BMW in the next stall. Her engine roared with life, and she tackled every challenge we threw at her with joy and exuberance. Now we're left with only a sense of loss, without anything except a check from the insurance company to temper our grief.
That's the question on everyone's mind. Why did you end it all on that cold November night, throwing yourself off the freeway, spinning out of control, and tumbling to a stop against the guardrail? Haven't we always been good to you? Haven't we changed your oil, washed your windows, and rubbed soothing wax against your side panels? What changed? We've asked ourselves a million questions since then, and we only hear the empty chatter of the wind through your broken skylight. My heart almost stopped when I found you there, a broken heap bleeding transmission fluid. I couldn't believe you were gone in a blink of an eye, crumpled into a pile of twisted metal and broken glass.
I remember fighting with the tow men as he dragged your corpse onto his truck. “What are you doing? Please, she can be saved,” I cried. “Do not take her to that awful place, where cars are parted like organ donors and the remains crushed into scrap.” But he pushed me aside and performed his grisly duty.
What do we do wrong? Did I say some off-hand remark about the new Toyota FJ Cruiser that upset you so? Did I leave a moldy sandwich in the back? Had you tired of the daily routine, back and forth, without any excursions beyond work and the supermarket? We wanted to drive you more, but with the price of gas and the economy in general, we just were never able to.
A rage overcame me. How could you do this? Were we not good enough? Didn't we take you in, spending extra money for heated seats and a luggage rack? How could you be so ungrateful? And didn't she know she could have injured others in the process? What was she thinking? I wanted to walk away, not even stop to see her mangled corpse to the salvage yard, to say some last words to her.
I argued with the insurance people for days. “She can be saved. It's not that bad. It's just a door ding.” They responded with words like “total loss”, “unrepairable at any price”, “stop calling us”. They finally sent me a check—a complete insult. How do you put a price on a car's life? How can you know what a car has meant to a family, all the cherished memories of days at the beach, climbing mountains, and rollicking on the freeway?
I don't want another car. I don't know if I can endure this pain again. When I see other Subaru's out on the road, my hands shake and I have to look away. Buying a new Subaru would be insulting to her memory. I just have no interest in cars right now. I don't want to mock her memory. I'm not ready for another car, I don't care how shiny it is.
All I know is that I hope Sube is in a better place right now. Her body might be in a junkyard, but I want to think that her soul is somewhere in a showroom in the sky, restored to her original glory, with a glossy coat of paint, clear bright lights, and limitless gas, opening to endless freeways where she can roam free with others of her kind. I hope when I pass over into that good night, I might enjoy one last ride with her, ease her pain, and tell her that we loved her as much as anyone could love a car.
Goodbye Sube, you were a true friend, and you'll be missed.