“Brandon, I just don’t think it’s wise of you to take your car your freshman year of college,” my mother said every time we passed a state. My mom and I had been taking turns driving a car my father bought me in Texas back to Georgia. . Although I would have loved to spend my Saturday with friends back at home, driving my new car from Texas to Georgia on a Saturday wasn’t that bad. I was just so determined to show off my brand new silver 2010 Toyota Camry LE, I didn’t care what anyone said because that car was coming with me to Valdosta State University fall of 2012.
I woke up on Sunday anxious to drive my car to church and show it off to all my friends. I was still a bit tired from the night before, after driving all day and downloading tons of songs to add to my playlist that was entitled “Toyota Tunes”. “Brandon, while you’re in church, I want you to pray and ask God what you think you should do with your car,” my mother said towards my closed door while I was getting dressed. “Okay, Mom, but my mind is pretty much made up,” I replied instantly. After I finished getting dressing, I waited for my mother in my car to finish getting dressed in the house. Being behind the wheel of your first car is one of those capturing moments many people get to feel at least once in their life. All I could think about while awaiting my mother’s arrival was all the friends I’d have in college with my cool car. I had visions of girls way out of my league not liking me for who I was, but for what I drove. And for the funniest reason, I was content with that.
As I pulled out of the driveway, my heart began to race and my fingers started to sweat from the grip I had on my steering wheel. Nothing had ever felt so sweet than to watch my neighbors look at me after getting their Sunday paper and see whose car it was I was driving. “I want you to say the morning prayer in your new car,” my mom said after turning down the gospel music she had blasting through my speakers. The morning prayer was something my mother and I would do whenever she would drop me off at school or another morning activity. It was also our way of airing out any dirty laundry we had with each other by saying our problems aloud to God and whoever else was around to listen.
“Alright mom, I’ll pray. Dear Heavenly Father, I come before you today asking for your protection through these highways and streets. I also pray that you can give my mother an ease of mind and let her know that I will be safe my freshman year with my car. She should have nothing to worry about because she should believe that You will protect me every mile I drive no matter where I drive. If she doesn’t believe that, then maybe that’s something You and her should discuss. In Jesus’ name, Amen.” “Amen,” she said in an unpleasant manner. “Disobeying your mother is not of God, Brandon”, she said when we pulled up to the church “, But this is your car and you’re a grown man. Just don’t be surprised if God gives you a sign telling you that you should listen to me on this one.
After church, I told my mom that I would take her home, pick up some friends and hang out at one of my good friends’ house for a bit. “How long will you be out? Because you leave for school in three days and there are still a lot of things you need to do before you go.” “I’ll be back by ten, I promise,” I said as I grabbed my keys off the counter to get my friends. This would now be my official first time driving my car alone. This was the moment I’ve been awaiting since my father first told me he bought a car for me fresh off the lot in cash. My mother waived at me from the window shaking her head. You ever get that feeling that something is about to happen, but you don’t know what it is. With a very strange gut feeling beginning to occur, I waived back to my mom while wiping the sweat off my hand “Bittersweet Symphony” by The Verve was my first song of choice. The song is actually about 6 minutes, which is about as long as it took for me to get to my friend Marquell’s house.
“Come outside. I’m right around the corner,” I told him over the phone, not mentioning my new car. When he came outside, the look on his face was priceless. “So this was the ‘little something’ your dad got you for graduation!?” The minute he climbed into the passenger seat, he instantly turned my radio to his Sunday easy listening channel he would always turn to in his beat up Camero. On our way to my friend Diamond’s house, she called me and asked if we could pick up some snacks for the movie we were going to watch when we got to her house. On my way to the store with my friend Marquell, we had the most intellectual conversation on which television shows expanded our minds the most when we were children. “I don’t care what you say”, Marquell said with confidence,” If it wasn’t for Captain Planet, I wouldn’t be the eco-friendly man I am today. Maybe if you watched more Captain Planet and less Hey Arthur, you wouldn’t have all these air fresheners in your car polluting the Earth.”
We both took a little time to acknowledge all the Hawaiian Breeze air cleansers I had dangling from my rear-view mirror, as we were approaching a stop light. “But you can’t tell me my ride doesn’t smell like pineapples and happiness though,” I said to cut the lighthearted tension me and my best friend created. As we pulled into the front of the gas station to get snacks, an old lady behind me honked her horn, attempting to tell me to clear the tail of my car into the parking space so she could get passed. The minute I tapped on the gas pedal, little did I know that my entire outlook on life would change. That was that moment that I got that explanation for that gut feeling.
My car had gone into an instant throttle, running clear into the curb in front of me. “Oh shit, bruh,” my friend Marquell said in disbelief,” I think you fucked something up.” We stared at each other for a moment, not believing the careless mistake I made. The collision happened on the passenger side, so when Marquell got out the car, he was the first one to see the impact damage. When he jumped out the car and looked at my bumper, the face he made at the damage superseded the face he made when he saw my car the first time. “Tell me it’s not that bad please!” I said at the top of my lungs. I could tell it was already bad by seeing pink fluid running underneath my car when I got out.
I honestly don’t think there is enough paper in the world to write the words of unhappiness that flowed from my mouth like an eruption of every foul term I could fathom There was a huge fracture in the middle of the bumper which effected the brake fluid tank to rip open. This also affected the radiator tank, as well. The first person I called was my father to let him know what happened. After that, I called the mechanic he connected me with. The last call I had to make was to my mother, to ask her to come pick me and my friend, Marquell up. This phone call was even harder to make than to my father. The phone only rang once followed by my mother’s voice saying in a subtle tone, “ Before you say anything, know that I told you so before you left…”