It was a hot day in the summer of 1997 when the old Chevette had finally given all she could possibly give. Carlton had managed to pull the car to the shoulder just before the engine sputtered to a stop. He gripped the well-worn steering wheel and dropped his head down. He knew. The Chevette would never run again.
Carlton inherited the red hatchback from his dad three years before, when he had passed his driver’s exam and gotten his license. On the one hand, he was less than thrilled that the car he would be driving around to school, to work, to parties was this bucket of bolts that his father bought used back in the mid-80s. On the other hand, this bucket of bolts represented freedom.
He was free to go where he pleased, when he pleased… within reason. But he no longer had to beg for rides from friends or, worse, his parents. The Chevette was his and he would take care of it like it was his baby.
The reality, though, is that the Chevette was far from being a baby. If cars are female, like a lot of people claim, then the Chevette was an old lady, well past her prime. When Carlton’s father dropped the key into his hands, she was already coming to the end of her life.
As Carlton continued to sit behind the wheel of the now lifeless car, he was a little surprised that she had lasted an additional three years. If he could have gotten his dad to be honest with him, he’d have probably admitted that he was surprised, too.
The Chevette, or Yvette, as Carlton liked to call her, had carried him through his last two years of high school and even through a year of community college. She had been on road trips, against his father’s advice. She had carried him on several first and second dates with a handful of girls from school. She had even survived that fender bender (“Not my fault,” Carlton had claimed) out on Franklin Street.
Today was nothing special. It was an ordinary summer day. A little warmer than normal, but that was nothing for Yvette the Chevette. She didn’t have A/C anyway. It wasn’t the end of a long road trip. But it was, apparently, the end of the road.
Carlton opened the door and stepped out of the car. He remembered passing a gas station a couple miles back where he might be able to use a phone to call a tow truck. Grabbing his keys, he closed the door and began the long walk.
Featured photo from barnfinds.