My Celica, My Dream
By Jeanny Tran

It was September of 2003.  In the parking lot of the Toyota dealership, the sun was on my side shining bright and early.  It was as if the sun was shining on the Celica to put it in the spotlight and persuade me to love it even more.  The 2001 red Celica GTS shone brightly like a flawless painting gleaming in the sunlight.  The red coat was mesmerizing and perfect for the car because red was the color of love during Valentine’s day and I definitely had unconditional love for this car. 
The structure of this car was like a figure eight model strutting on the walkway showing how beautiful it was.  I could picture myself riding in this car with the sunroof open and my hair blowing in the wind, as I touched the sleek hood of the car.  Breathtaking, magnificent, and sexy.  A description for the car and me, therefore I felt strongly that we were meant to be.
Through the glass windows I could see my dad speaking to the salesperson trying to score an excellent deal.  My dad frantically waved his hands and rolled his eyes showing his frustration to persuade the salesperson to drop the price even more.  Even if they decided to sell the car at the price of a Mercedes, I would still want that beautiful ride. 
Heavily sighing and pacing back and forth like an expecting parent of a newborn, I waited impatiently for the results.  This car was indeed like a baby to me.  I couldn’t wait for it to arrive and be a part of my world.  I would raise it, nurture it, and cherish it to the fullest extent just like a mom was expected to do. 
Finally my dad handed him the check for three thousands dollars, the check that came from my savings account for the down payment.  It didn‘t matter that it took me three years to save that much money, I would have handed the check to the salesperson in a heartbeat in return for that red Celica.  I squealed as my dad threw me the two sets of car keys and I quickly gave him a gigantic bear hug.  "Your insurance is going to be sky high and you have to make your own car payments every month!" warned my mom.
I rolled my eyes and shrugged my shoulders at her.  It could be a payment every week; I still will make it! I thought to myself.    I just purchased my 2001 red Celica GTS and my feelings could never have been better.  I hopped in on the driver’s side into the smooth, black leather seats and cranked the engine up.  Humming flawlessly, my gorgeous ride came to life and I pulled out of the parking lot not even stopping at the stop sign.  I was enthusiastic to show it off, happy to finally get my dream car, and I was intoxicated with its beauty.  I should have known that nothing lasts forever.
It is now November of 2003.  Still riding in my gorgeous Celica, I pull out of the McDonald’s driveway with my McRib meal and hot chocolate chip cookies in my lap.  The smell was divine and sensational.  The little ice cubes in my sweet ice tea clanking against each other making that annoying little swish-swish noise.
In my 2001 red Celica GTS, I feel like the best thing on the entire block.  With my sporty Gucci shades on, my tinted windows down, and my system blasting, every guy turned to look and stare.  For the two months since I had it, I was the envy of all my friends.  I had clothes, shoes, looks, a decent job, a high school diploma, and a flawless and fast car!  When you are young, if you have a car that is fast and flawless, your friends envy you.  In a generation built of young teenagers watching movies like Fast and Furious or Biker Boys, those scenes portray street racing or just having a fast ride as being cool.  My Celica was my baby, my own blood, something that I love and cherish.  When the sun was beaming on its beautiful red coat all day, I felt the agony and the pain of the car being burnt.  During the cold mornings when I pulled out the driveway, its engine still struggling to wake up, I felt the aggravation of waking up that early to get me to my destinations.  And after I threw a chunk of the delicious chocolate chip cookie in my mouth, I groaned when I realized there was still chocolate on my hands as I gripped the sleek black leather steering wheel.  Quickly I grabbed a napkin from the McDonald’s bag and wiped it off as I pulled up to the stop sign.
At the stop sign, I had to make a left turn but the traffic going the right way was really heavy and speeding by quickly.  Finally they slowed down as the traffic light to the right of me turned red.  Both lanes of cars stopped just enough to leave a gap for me to pull out and make my left turn.  I rolled out slowly, hardly even pressing my foot on the gas.  I waved a quick thank you to the two cars that had stopped for me as the head of my beautiful Celica proceeded into the universal turning lane.
Suddenly I heard brakes squealing as loud as a pig squealed when he is about to be executed.  Then my entire car got smashed on the left front side by a 1989 burgundy Sentra as my heart got smashed right along with it.  The impact was so hard that my once flawless Celica got flung into the other direction of traffic as my airbags flew out and smashed me right in the face.  I threw my head to look at my left side as my Gucci shades slipped from my face.  I gasped as I saw a black van headed dead at me coming to my right side.  I pounded as hard as I could on my brakes but it wasn’t doing any good, unfortunately, because the impact had swung the Celica so fast and hard that the brakes couldn’t even stop it for an inch. 
Once again, I heard brakes squealing as the van attempted to stop.  I simply just shut my eyes waiting for another shocking impact once again.  And sure enough, the entire front end of the van smashed into my front passenger side.  I heard the loud shattering of my headlights along with the Sentra’s headlights and I’m pretty sure the shattering noise was coming from my heart also.  Even though the car accident probably happened in a quick two seconds, it felt like an eternity because as I was in the car, everything was moving in slow motion. 
Finally my lovely car laid there in the middle of three lanes of traffic along with her sworn enemies, a 1989 Sentra and an ugly black van.  The smoke from the airbags was intolerable, my lunch had spilled all over the floor on the passenger side, and my drink had got thrown out of the cup holder itself and laid on the floor leaking everywhere.  Fortunately, I wasn’t injured but my hands were shaking uncontrollably from the shock of the accident and my knees felt like rubber bands. Releasing my seat belt and trying to push my airbag to go down a little bit, I wobbled out the car.  I glanced around me at the now slow moving traffic as on lookers struggled to see what had. 
My world started spinning as my legs felt weak and my arms felt like steel as I finally looked at my car.  A beauty that was so gorgeous and flawless to the world, it laid there like a fallen victim during a war.  A victim that had been slashed, tortured, and left to die.  The sleek hood that was once sharp and fast looking was bent in half revealing the battered engine that was breathing out her last and final breath.  Both headlights were smashed and pieces of glass laid on the ground everywhere just like my heart that felt as if it had got ripped out and thrown everywhere also.  The entire front fender was smashed in as if the world was too envious of its beauty and decided to pound it until it was ugly.  A fallen soldier indeed.  Beautiful still, yet useless and always to be remembered. 
Tears came pouring out of my eyes uncontrollably as snot started sliding down my nose continuously.  I heard a faint "Are you ok?" from the driver of the van and I slowly nodded my head not even glancing to see where she was standing.  My eyes were glued to my dream that had been smashed just like that in two seconds flat.  I constantly had to use my hands to wipe my snot and tears out of my face.  The driver of the van had gotten on her cell phone and started calling the cops while the driver of the Sentra was still sitting in the car.  It may have been 10 minutes or 30 minutes before the ambulance and cops came but it felt like an eternity to me as I stared at my fallen love.  Since I had gotten out of the car, I had not taken my eyes off of her.  She was struggling to stare at me and show me that this was her final day and my heart felt like it was stabbed with a knife and twisted over and over again.
"Are you ok, miss?  Do you need an ambulance?" asked one of the police officers. 
I shook my head and replied, "no I’m fine. I’ll just call my supervisor since I’m on my lunch break from work." 
I crept to my totaled car and reached for my phone in the backseat. 
Hearing my supervisor’s voice, I busted into another river of tears as I struggled to say, "Please come and get me.  I’m on the street right in front of our job.  I’ve gotten into a huge accident and my car is totaled."
Attempting to calm me down was useless as my shoulders started shaking and I started gasping for breath because I was crying too hard.  I ended the call and sat on the curb, just 2 feet away from my once beautiful car. 
The driver of the van was sitting next to me as we waited for the tow truck to come to get our cars. 
She whispered, "You’re lucky to be alive, you could have been smashed and killed by those two cars." 
I simply nodded my head because I was not even thinking about my life. I was thinking about my dream, my first real dream that was smashed in about 2 seconds.  What did I do to deserve this?  Why me?  What did I do to deserve this?   The exact same questions kept going through my head like a scrollbar with the same message passing by over and over again. 
Finally my supervisor came and the first thing he said was, "You’re lucky to be alive."  I scoffed under my breath.  What did I do to deserve this?
The tow truck finally pulled up.  The driver got out and wobbled his way towards me.  He looked like he was in his late forties wearing some jean overalls and was a bit overweight.
He grumbled, "I’m taking this to our car lot down the street in Matthews.  Call your insurance agent and they should be able to come take a look at it in the morning."  I simply nodded, too hurt and too shocked to speak. 
The last time I had spoken was when I ordered the food from McDonald’s.  My supervisor and I walked to his black Ford truck as I glanced back at my fallen soldier one last time.  The fat tow truck driver was pulling the ramp down to load my car up onto that ugly tow truck.  My car was facing me as if to tell me that this was the last time we would see each other and I winced.  The agony in my heart was unbearable like a fallen soldier that had been stabbed in his heart and left to die. 
The ride back to my job was filled with silence.  Arms wrapped around my body, I felt so vulnerable and injured.  My first major accomplishment was smashed and destroyed and the worst thing was that I was innocent.  I had worked hard and honestly for that goal and achieved it.  I achieved it through labor, honesty, and faith and it was destroyed with no particular reason.  Pulling up to the front, I saw my mom and baby sister.  Their eyes were filled with tears and their mouths were pulled down as if gravity was pulling extra hard on the ends of their mouths.  Worried and concerned, they grabbed a hold of me both at the same time and hugged me.  Seeing I was still in one piece, they both heaved a huge sigh. 
Being a mom and always knowing what her daughter is thinking, she replied, "It’s ok sweetie. At least you’re ok.  You will eventually get another one."
Of course, I started crying another river of tears again as I thought about my shattered dream.  I got into yet another ordinary car, my mom’s van, and continued to cry all the way home.
Two weeks later, I heaved yet another huge sigh as my mom and I rolled up in the junkyard in Matthews, NC. Earlier that morning, I had received the dreaded and tragic news that my car was indeed totaled. Therefore, my mom and I had to make that last and final trip and get my remaining belongings from my baby. The gravel crunching as we rolled up the driveway reminded me of the driveway up to a funeral home. As we rounded to the back of the junkyard, I saw my car way in the back facing me as if to show its pain and misery. All of a sudden, my heart dropped and the waterworks started again. Something I had work so hard for is gone now. As I opened the car door, it creaked as if yelling in pain. I grabbed my cds, a couple novels, and a gym back from the backseat.
My mom got out of the car making a lot of comments like, "Your car got really messed up," "Wow look at the headlights", and so on.
I threw my belongings in the backseat of her van and struggled to stop crying. My breath was raggedy and inconsistent, sounding like an old man having an asthma attack. Also I had to sniff to stop the snot from overflowing.
My mom made another comment, "I'm so grateful your lucky behind is alive."
Silence was followed after that comment as I stopped gasping and wheezing, stopped sniffing, and just started at her. The funny thing was here I was crying my heart out at my "car's funeral" as the birds surrounding the junkyard continued to sing! The sun was still shining brightly as if praising life. My mom was silently humming as she waited for me to finish getting everything out. Here I was feeling as if life ended because of my car, just a car as life continued just the same. I smiled all of a sudden and hugged my mom. She opened her mouth as if she was about to say something and then just smiled.
Hugging me back, I whispered to her, "Yes I'm lucky."