Well, my dream car is officially gone. I got her when I was 16, she was the very first car I bought myself. In this journal I've been over the history of how she was stolen, and stripped, and how even when I got her back, and took my time breaking her down and building her up,she never came back together fully, but I don't think I ever tried to explain what this car meant to me.
I was a different person when I got this car. I was social, I wasn't yet schizophrenic, I had a vast, loving family still, which was a cohesive unit, despite hardships. I still believed in guns and government. I still believed in god.
My choice of car was majorly influenced by my family's tastes. There had been 4 Corvettes in the family on my dad's side, over the last 20 years(at that point), it was the "family car" to me. Yeah it looked good, and as a young mechanic I recognized that it was the pinnacle of automotive technology in its day, but I spent hours talking about, working on, driving these cars. I knew that when it came to choosing any old rebuildable chevy it was going to be a vette. So I looked around and found one in my price range, from a guy at church, for $500.
She wasn't running very good, when I got her. I did some routine maintenance, changed the oil, plugs and wires and then I put some miles on her. I drove her on my first date, got a ticket, and then the girl laughed in my face when I tried to talk to her at school the next day. My first and only girlfriend never got to ride in her, despite the fact that we were really good friends well up until the point where I parked her to start the first rebuild. It wasn't that I didn't want her in the car, she was just going out with my best friend at the time, and I was really conflicted about my feelings for her. So I refused to give her rides, I made excuses, and I dreamed of a day when it would be me, her, and the drive.
I did a lot a dreaming, when it came to this car. I put in a CD player with an aux port, and used my laptop to play mp3's I downloaded from IRC, long before there were IPods or Zunes, before ITunes and even Napster. I spent hours upon hours researching parts and possible upgrades, looking up other cars and deciding what ideas to incorporate into the rebuild.
And then I reached adulthood, and life came fast. My girlfriend and I grew apart, and split, I lost my uncle 3 days later, who I was living with, and who had put the car under his name while I was a minor. My grandmothers died within the year, then my mother. The car was stolen, the cops wouldn't do anything because it was legally my uncles and he was dead, and nobody could file a stolen vehicle report in his name. And to top it all off I no longer had my mental integrity. As I had always feared, I had inherited schizophrenia from my mom and I was terrified at the thoughts and voices going through my head, and the violence I was craving.
It took years and years to sort out my mind, and get serious help, mentally, but I did, and I got on medication, and I was left with a big empty hole in my world. I still had family, but it was scattered and no longer functioning as it should. I had no friends, I was afraid to go out in public, and I had absolutely no purpose in life, no reason to get up in the morning, no work to concentrate on, nobody but my dad even seeming to remember I was alive. I got out the notes I had been slowly compiling and tried to concentrate on building a world that sated my needs.
Years later, I found Selina again, stripped, broken, empty, like me. I didn't even know if I wanted her back, even though I had spent some 7 or 8 years looking in every backyard, every open garage, every gated lot, everywhere I went. The guy who had it refused to give it back, saying he had paid money for it(to one of the people who used to call me friend) and had a receipt, that he was not going to give it back unless a sheriff demanded it. Frustrated I told him to fuck off, and left it at that. In the end though, he couldn't get it registered without a title, and my dead uncle wasn't in any position to sign it over, so he put it in storage and left it there, stopped paying, after which the storage lot put a lien sale on it for storage owed, making them the legal owners. I ended up buying it again for another $500.
I started to work on it, and gather parts, and I started to feel like there was still something I loved, something that was mine and that reminded me of happier times. I eventually reconnected with one of my oldest friends, there's a picture in my images folder of Selina, just the frame, all painted up with its new shocks, bushings and springs, sitting on stand up tires, with the body in the background and him standing behind it flipping the camera off. In the 14 years since my uncle died, the number of times I've actually got to hang out with him, is probably 10, and he's my most active friendship. He came out twice to help me with Selina.
Everything I know about mechanics, I learned from my dad. The number of engines we've changed together and cars we've worked on over the years is, well, high. All the knowledge that it took to strip the car to its very frame, put it in boxes, and then reassemble it correctly came from him, and he spent his fair share of time talking about it with me, praising my accomplishments with it, and generally just sharing how happy I was with it. He never touched it though, he didn't lift one finger to help me pull the engine, or the tranny, or put them back in, or even dial in the carb. It was my car and he left it up to me. If I wanted it to run better, I better work on it. I had all the skills I needed, because he had made sure of that growing up.
Now he's dead too, and I had a car that was no longer a dream, it was a life. I'm 36, I've had this car over half my life, and I put a lot of time, love and money into it. In the end though, I lost the paperwork and can't get it legal. I wish I had got her roadworthy, I had every intention and I made every effort to get her there, but fate conspired against us. I sold her for $500, for a loss of somewhere around $7000 in parts alone, and the guy picked her up today, she's going down to LA, where he plans to restore her, and thinks he has a clever plot to get the registration straightened out. I wish him the best.
But it all boils down to one question. Should I have let Leslie in the car? She was the one and only person I really connected with in this life, and this car is the singularity of my life, but despite their proximity, I don't have the one memory I wished for the most, my girl in my car.