600 words about Auto Therapy

By Kim Smith

Dear DT,

Although you are long dead and gone, salvaged for parts and scrap metal, my therapist said I should write to you. Apparently, unresolved feelings from our past are affecting my current relationship. My car has asked me to do “couple’s counseling” with her, so here I am, dredging up the past to save my future.

You can expect to hear from me again soon.

        *****

Dear DT,

Remember our first date? We had known each other for years, grown up together. Gray and boxy, you were the epitome of an 80’s station wagon. No family adventure was complete without you.

But the day I received my permit, something special happened between us. I drove you home from the DMV and you became – not just our family friend – but my friend.

Under your care, I learned to drive. You gave me confidence. You made me streetwise. We went shopping, visited friends, and attended parties together. We were inseparable.

What went wrong?

        *****

Dear DT,

My therapist says that I won’t make any progress unless I call you by your full name. Therefore, all future letters will be addressed to “Death Trap.”

        *****

Dear Death Trap,

Ours was a stormy relationship, full of intense passion that both bound us together and drove us apart.

You locked me out, you coughed and sputtered, and you dropped your parts in the road. You broke free of your muffler and roared your fury. Despite all of our fun together, I couldn’t count on you to be there when I needed you.

Why? Was it something I said?

        *****

Dear Death Trap,

Why, oh why did you do it? Why did you volunteer to escort my dad to the airport and pick up his business associates?

You greeted them with rust and mischief. Your first prank involved a rope dangling out your tailgate. After loading their luggage, the helpful businessmen tried in vain to throw the rope in the back because it was tied to the trailer hitch!

Death Trap, you refused to allow anyone to open your driver door from the outside. My dad had to reach through the window to pull the inner release handle, like some sort of hoodlum!

To top it all off, you gave one of the men quite a start when he sat down and closed his door. The window crank fell off!

Rather than impressing and honoring these business partners, you made them feel foolish, uncomfortable, and disrespected.

One would think, that after such a gross display of rudeness, you would be penitent. But no, you continued to smirk, even after I gave you a week of the silent treatment.

As a further act of insolence, you started a leak from your gas tank. Have you no sense of decency? No respect for human life?

I knew then that our relationship was over.

        *****

Dear Death Trap,

I have faced our past and refuse to let you haunt me anymore. You are banished from my life. This is the last you will hear from me.

        *****

Dear Sweet Pea,

Thank you for encouraging me to attend counseling with you. I learned a lot about myself and feel that I have made progress in dealing with the past.

I also learned a lot about you and have come to understand the source of conflict between us.

I see now that I have to sever our relationship. It’s not me — it’s you. I discovered that your frame contains recycled steel from none other than Death Trap himself. As long as you harbor his presence, our relationship cannot be.

Please don’t try to contact me again.

Editor’s note: This story is part of our October 2016 series ‘Hundreds of Words about My First Car’

 

Kim Smith hails from Upstate NY and loves to ponder life’s mysteries. Reading, knitting, dating her husband, and snuggling with cats are some of her favorite activities.

Read Hundreds of Words by Kim Smith here.


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