At first I thought my sister’s new Hyundai was pretty girly looking. My parents got it for Jackie when she graduated high school. She was 17; so I must have been 11 or 12 at the time. I didn’t go to the dealership to look at it or even pick it up with them..
What is that?
I asked myself as I rolled up to my house on my skateboard, it was the first time I had seen it.
The car shone brighter than any cars my parents had, I remember that. It could have been the warm sun that day, or maybe Dad had given it a quick rinse. It sat at the top of the driveway, somewhere between royal and electric blue. It was a compact four-door sedan; it was small. The interior was gray and minimal. The seats had a recycled fruitcake-looking pattern.
It looked so strange, almost futuristic. I had only been used to my parents’ cars at the time; boxy 80’s sedans and pickup trucks, all Toyota. What the hell was a Hyundai? Why did it look like a spaceship?
I didn’t care about cars. I cared about skateboards and playing my guitar.
Ma told me to be home for around two that afternoon. The whole clan was showing up at the time I got there: Gram and Meme with their three disposable cameras each, Pepe checking the scene under the hood, Dad and Uncle Bobby shooting the shit. I walked up and sat in the passenger seat.
“Jackie got a car! She can drive me everywhere now!”
“Ha ha good luck with that one, Ty.”
No, no, Dad, you don’t understand! Jackie loves driving me around! She even told me!
Realistically, I thought to myself, what 17 year old high school graduate doesn’t want to hang with her kid bro? Jackie not having to drive Mom’s car meant she could drive anywhere all the time. Oh the places we could go! We could go to Six Flags without having to rely on Mom and Dad for the car/a ride. OR she could bring me and my friends to the skate park! She could drive me to… the beach! We could go to California! She was gonna be the coolest sister with a car!
Mom and Jackie were out on some distraction-task. They finally pulled up about 10 minutes later, Mom let Jackie drive the Toyota home. I pretty much saw the brake pedal hit the floor as she drove up and parked almost in the middle of the street. The excitement was blowing out of her ears.
After the photo shoot and giving everybody else a ride, she finally sprung the question I had been waiting for the whole time:
“Ty wanna go for a ride!?”
Yes. This is our chance. The open road is ours.
“Yeah I do!”
I couldn’t decide what we were going to do first.
Maybe Six Flags? Jackie works, she has money right? Or maybe we can go to the skate park now!
“Should I bring my board?”
She looked at me inquisitively. “No?”
Either way, I ran and hopped into the passenger seat.
“See ya guys! Be back soon!” I waved and said to my family standing on the sidewalk. I was so excited I didn’t even think to move the seat back to fit my abnormally-tall-for-an-11-year old self. I rolled the window down and hung out the window as we turned left onto Grove Street. The neighborhood kids were out. I gave them the cool guy “whats up” as we drove by, and they all looked in awe. Their sister was sitting on their stoop. She was Jackie’s age.
Man, it must suck to NOT have a sister who drives.
We turn the left onto Central Street and I see Richard’s out mowing his lawn. “HEY!!!” I yell out the window. He stops and looks at Jackie next to me, laughs and says “back again aye?”
Gonna be seeing a lot of this car around the block Richie!
“This is SO COOL.” I say to Jackie. She hasn’t wiped the smile off of her face since she pulled up to the house with Mom. She looks around and says “I know.”
I turn the radio on and start to mess with the dial to see what’s on. She takes over promptly and turns it to hot 95.7.
P.I.M.P. was on.
What’s new? Everyone loves this song for some reason. It’s lame.
“This song sucks!”
“Tough shit! My car!”
Point take, but it still sucks.
We get to the end of Central Street. Here it was: the big time, time to go on Route 20. We could go left and go past the Xtra Mart. I think there’s an Agway somewhere down there. Or we could take a right. I know that leads to Boston Road and that means the mall, which was always cool. I heard a rumor that it led all the way to Boston. (Come to find out it was actually a west bound road, I was 11, what do you expect?)
Jackie took a left at the light. Oh here we go! Beyond Agway I had no idea what was down this way. Here is where we start our adventure. Just me and my big sis and her new wheels, the world is ours! Life just got way cooler.
I sat back in my seat, arm out the window. As we passed the post office, my eyes were set half a mile down the road to the bend that led to a more open part of the road: the great beyond.
Then I heard the blinker.
I look and its signaling left. Maybe she just forgot something. We pull up to the house.
“What are we doing back?
“I’m leaving!” She says.
“What?” I didn’t understand. “Where?”
“I’m going to hang out with my friends!”
What about Six Flags?
“But what about…” I started to ask, but the car was already in drive.