Dear Old Car,

I’m sorry I sold you to a strange junk yard man for an offensively low price (and then immediately hit up the thrift store for fall dresses before an appropriate length of time had passed). And I’m sorry you had to see me with that young, hot, royal pearl blue model during your final weeks here.

I could explain my reasons, but what’s the use? I’d rather use this opportunity to thank you for all the good times, and to remember.

I’ll never forget the day Dad brought you home as a gift for Jenny and me to share. You winked at me as you sat waiting there for us, glistening beneath the sun in all your candy apple red glory. It was the day after I finished eighth grade; I couldn’t even drive yet. But I already knew exactly what your arrival meant: my real life was about to begin.

I was right. Nothing has ever changed my life as much as you did.

You’ve taken me to every job I’ve ever had, to every boy I’ve ever fallen in love with (remember how we used to sneak out after curfew?), to every state I’ve ever moved to, and home again for every holiday. You let me have a full, happy life.

Even our frustrating moments are hilarious in retrospect. Like how I almost crashed you during my driver’s test but still managed to pass with the lowest possible score. Or that time the car shop accidentally installed an alarm in you that went off every three seconds and made me homicidal with rage. Or that four-year period when I had to park you under that nasty pine tree and you were perpetually covered in pine needles and pools of sap that looked like bird shit.

I hope you will remember me as being as good to you as you were to me, even though I only cleaned you out approximately one time (last week). I felt guilty as I discovered countless hardened French fries, mysterious burn holes, and an open bottle of alcohol wedged underneath your passenger seat (is there something you never told me, Old Car?) I did not find the source of the rotting smell. I guess you will always get to keep that as your own little secret, you sneaky thing.

Maybe I should have been there in that final moment when the junk yard man towed you away. Do you know where I was instead? Hiding. Because I couldn’t watch. How could I? You were my best friend. You knew more about me than anyone—my most private thoughts, how I spent my time, my secret love of anything Daughtry or Pitbull.

I didn’t want it to end with us, Old Car. I just knew, on that day last spring when the Midas man raised you up to show me how your innards had been chewed apart by rats, that you and I had finally reached the end of our road.

“Maybe it wants to retire,” Doug tried to console me as I sobbed at the thought of letting you go.

I hope so. I hope you have an amazing time on that big, open road in the sky. Whenever I smell the vague scent of something rotting, I’m going to smile and know you are still winking down at me.

Thanks again, for everything.