After nearly two years of having sat on my drive and irritating my housemates to no end I said my final goodbye to my first car this week. The car I learned to drive in, the one that took me on my first cruise through the night, my first road trip, gave me my first taste of adult freedom, my first close call and first prangs. The list of firsts goes on and on but now that is all done with I can finally but sadly place a full stop on my adventures in my first car; Fleur the Fiat.
I could regale you with tale after tale, from its unfortunate end when it broke down on my way home from a funeral that escalated to an encounter with an unmarked police unit. Or to the time I drove the length of London to Brighton in a traditional torrential Autumn downpour with only the passenger side wiper working and my brother attempting to guide me along the busy motorways and back roads. An experience neither one of us will forget anytime soon. Or of the many wrong turns down technically impassable dirt tracks that she took easily and happily in her stride. Or to all the times transporting around film gear, props, desks, beds and cabinets. All far too large and heavy for such a small vehicle but ones which never once phased her. I could do that, I guess. What I’ll never forget though and which is near impossible to relate to anyone who doesn’t drive or who has never had a first car of their own is the connection formed between driver and machine. A strange unbelievable connection, a relationship even, one forged of admiration, love and undying trust. One completely unique and irreplaceable between driver and vehicle, friend to friend, comrade to comrade. Sadly no one will ever be able to forge such a new relationship with beautiful little Fleur as right now she resides in some darkened scrapyard in London awaiting her full stop.
It really is strange, the relationship formed, it’s one you never expected to have or one to have such an incredible and influential impact on you. It’s a car, a machine, metal and wires, springs and rubber. But the relationship we carved, I realise now as I write this, was extremely important to me as a person. While it gave me my first taste of freedom in a grander sense, as it wasn’t as if my parents were keeping us shackled to our bedsteads or anything, it meant I no longer had to rely on my somewhat no existent leg power to get me places. Miles now meant nothing. Distance became time. No longer was there a need to rely on others. Of course with such a new found power came a period of abuse, ignorance and adjustment. My five year relationship with Fleur was the greatest and maybe not so exciting coming of age tale never told. I learnt of responsibility and limitations but I also gained the freedom to explore and experience. Fleur took me to university, up to London, to a whole new life filled with new loves, new experiences and new firsts.
Only now at the full stop, at the end of ones story do you realise the importance of what has just been. Only with a conclusive full stop can we be given the chance to stop and reflect, pause and think, to evaluate and rethink. It is always a bitter sadness to say goodbye to a friend but it is only in the bitterness do we recognise the goodness and impact of that relationship. And with that I must say my final thank yous and goodbyes to Fleur and a special thank you for playing a small part in helping me find another very important love in my life. To you Fleur, for everything and to all the other first cars and firsts out there waiting for us all.