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Beyond My Factory Warranty

by Sherrie Coronas  
7/22/2009 / Short Stories

It was so many years ago that I sat anxiously among countless others on that lot of opportunity -- each one of us shiny, flawless and excited about the future. One might think we were nothing more than finely molded steel and advanced engine parts. Deep down inside, I didn't believe that to be true. From the moment I was created, I longed to achieve more than the guarantees outlined in my factory warranty. There simply had to be more in life.

I believe Doug and Cindy saw something special in me on the day they picked me out of the crowd. I'll never forget them although I haven't seen them in quite some time. Now, in my twilight years, I mostly rest in the garage of my new owner, Addie. She doesn't travel far from home and rarely washes me, but I've adjusted to my new life here. I spend most of my time reminiscing about the good ol' days. My glory days...

It was 1989 when I first arrived home with Doug and Cindy. My place was in the driveway, under the big tree, not far from the front door -- practically inside the house. The compliments whirled around me constantly. "Wow," folks would say. "Nice car! When'd ya get her?" For a long time, they particularly loved my smell. Doug set the rules right away. No eating, no drinking, and a mandatory wash every weekend.

One day we arrived at a large, mirrored building I'd never seen before. Doug came out pushing Cindy in a wheelchair. My heart dropped. Then I noticed she was carrying something. I soon learned that this was Max. We became very good friends -- nope, we were like family. Unlike the others who prefer to gaze out my windows, Max spent his whole first year staring at my seat.

Some time passed and a second visit to that mirrored building brought another addition to the family. Zoe also liked to stare at my seat. Max, on the other hand, now gazed out my windows like the others. Soon we dropped the no eating and drinking rules and the weekly wash requirement.

One day I heard Cindy and Doug talking about me. "Well, she's finally paid off," said Doug. "She's all ours now," gushed Cindy as she rubbed my dash. It sent chills up my chassis.

I shuttled the family here to there, day after day. We made trips to work, the grocery store, the park and the movies. My favorite, by far, were our trips out of town when we really got to talk. These were my glory days.

In 1994, things started to change. Suddenly I just wasn't "big enough" anymore. I took it all in stride. When my trunk just couldn't fit more stuff, Doug got creative with the soccer equipment and tied some gear to my roof. We worked it out.

Then the unimaginable happened. I barely had enough time to warn them with my red, blinking light. My engine heated, I sputtered and a huge billow of smoke nearly scared the children to death. A large truck came and took me away. I arrived at a dirty garage that I came to know all too well over the next year. It nearly sent me into depression.

It was an ordinary Saturday afternoon when the SUV pulled up behind me in our driveway. Just another unannounced visitor, I reasoned, until Doug popped out of the driver's seat. Soon the family was gawking at the new arrival. "I really like it, Dad!" said an excited Max, forgetting I was within earshot. Later, Doug taped a sign to my back window.

That's when I met Addie. Doug and Cindy didn't take any money the day she drove me away. As it happened, Addie needed a car to make short trips around town. They knew I'd be perfect for the job. As Addie backed me onto the street, I saw Cindy wipe away a tear. Doug kicked some pebbles on the drive and the kids waved goodbye. It took everything in me not to blow a gasket right then and there. The short drive over to Addie's was quiet -- no radio, no conversation. Still it felt like the beginning of a great, new friendship.

A sense of satisfaction washes over me when I look back on my life. It's been a good life -- one of service to others and wonderful relationships. Indeed, there was something more in my life after all; there was love.

Sherrie is a believer in Jesus Christ, a wife, a mother and a freelance writer. She resides with her family on the island of Oahu in Hawaii, where she was born and raised.

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