The Key I Carry | Teen Ink

The Key I Carry

October 15, 2019
By isabellalo16 BRONZE, Temperance, Michigan
isabellalo16 BRONZE, Temperance, Michigan
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

The wind blowing through my hair, the radio turned all the way up, and the sound of my best friend laughing as I was driving my scarlet-colored 1997 Jeep Wrangler through the small town of Temperance. This is what freedom felt like and I couldn’t get enough of it. A license with your dream car sounds like fun, but this is where all the chaos of being a new driver begins, and it all started with a small black and silver key. 

For two and a half hours, we saw nothing but dead cornfields in the midst of a chilly February morning. My dad and I decided to look at a Jeep all the way in Indiana. From the pictures we saw, I could tell we were on our way to potentially buy my first car. We pulled up to a two-story wooden house with blue shutters and a blue front door. A long driveway surrounded by trees lead to a bright red Jeep Wrangler. As soon as my dad parked I immediately jumped out of the warm, cozy truck into the cool February air. The car was everything I dreamed of, removable doors and roof. The radio was ancient but that didn’t matter to me. We spent a long time walking on the muddy, gravel driveway circling and inspecting the car. Despite the cold air, the mud on my shoes, the snow on the ground, and seeing small flaws on the car, none of that mattered, I was ready for my freedom. 

For two cold and dreaded months before I got my license, I watched my beautiful, prehistoric car sit in the snowy street next to my house. Every day after a long day of boring school, the girl who took me home and I would always admire the car and wish I could drive it. Once my dad got home, we would jump in the old car and take it for a spin. Driving through the snow-covered roads in an old car was terrifying enough, especially when I was a new driver. Eventually, the snow had stopped falling down, the grass began to show, and the flowers started to sprout. The driving became easier and was a walk in the park. The dreaded test came, I was filled with nervousness as we pulled into the pothole-filled parking lot behind the Junior High. The test began, I ran over a cone and felt hopeless, until I heard the words that made all of my worries go away, “Let’s go on the road!” I had passed my test, and the feeling of joy was immense that day. 

Since the scarlet 1997 Jeep Wrangler came into my life, I was the first of my friends to start driving. The excitement on their faces when I pulled into their driveway or the face of relief when they got out always makes me laugh. My friends have been with me to experience when my car broke down on Lewis Avenue. Unfortunately, they got to join in on the horror of my first car break down. Both of us terrified in the front seat hoping that somehow I’m able to pull over and have my dad come rescue us. Once the car was parked at a vintage Family Video, we both took a deep sigh of relief that everything was going to be okay.

The day the doors came off the car, my dad watched with a worried expression as I backed out of the driveway, with a huge smile across my face. It was a bittersweet moment for him, seeing his blonde, freckled, little girl he spent years driving around finally go off on her own in a doorless, death contraption (as he saw it.) But during this, he realized I wasn’t his 3-year-old toddler with pigtails and dressed head to toe in pink, but a grown-up teenager excited to experience her car. As I sped off, my long, blonde hair was blowing in my face with goosebumps were forming on me because of the chilly wind on a sunny day. The happiness I experienced that day was known to whoever I drove past that day. 

To most people, the small key I carry around is just a key, nothing important. After selling my first car, I still carry the black key around with me to remind me of the great and scary times I experienced with my old car. The car holds many memories and taught me how to be more a more responsible driver, since my life isn’t the only one at stake. From countless breakdowns, to hundreds of runs to go get food with my friends, the small key will always make me reminisce about the good times.



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