A good and faithful friend needs to be sold
First, please believe me when I say I'm so sorry. I never meant for this to happen, and my heart is heavy at us having to part. In fact, it's one of the hardest vehicular break-ups I've ever endured, and I'm not lying when I say I will never forget you.
However, things change and circumstances alter in this world. We all know that family needs ebb and flow, that requirements one year can even disappear into another. That's just life, I guess.
Seeing you for the first time was love at first sight . . . for me at least. Your beautiful metallic- green body with nifty black contrast finishings was small but perfectly formed - you were my ideal car.
I'd been searching for you for ages over the internet and through the local car auctioneers' offerings. I knew exactly what I wanted - a car I'd always coveted but had never had the chance to buy before.
And, completely inappropriately, I had the Canterbury earthquakes to thank for finding you.
For years, every time we'd driven past a cute little Rav4, I'd said to no-one in particular that the model was sexy yet deceptively roomy, with a heady view on the world and big tyres that could tackle any terrain.
We'd see other Rav4s for sale in car lots, and I'd grown to adore your shape. I loved the way you were tiny but grunty, your compact lines promising the ride of a lifetime, with room in the back for the kids and the dog if I had one. I had a lucky friend who'd bought one, and she said it was multi-faceted - able to handle sports equipment, several additional children, the guinea pig, the mother-in-law and even small pieces of furniture without a stutter.
I'd gazed longingly at her little black number with its racy white stripes, running my fingers lovingly over its smooth paint job and swinging open the back door to check out the space. Yep, I thought, one day I'll own one of these. I promise.
Of course, my husband, a gas- guzzling motorist with a penchant for 0-100kmh in three seconds, always poo-pooed my desire for you.
"It's a silly little city-slicker jeep," he'd sneer as we sailed past Rav4s on the motorway.
"It's a pooftery Jafa car that's a waste of time and effort."
I never listened though. You were stuck in my sub-conscious and I couldn't shake you off. So I bided my time and waited for the opportunity to finally own you all for myself.
It was the February earthquake in Christchurch that gave me my chance to find you. Hubby, stationed down south to cover the horror of Mother Nature, finally relented when I rang to complain that Eldest Child, complete with restricted licence, couldn't drive the Commodore in the garage due to us not being able to afford the exorbitant insurance premiums.
"He can't even go to the shops for me, to pick up milk or bread," I whined, "or take himself off to see his friends. We need an automatic that he can use. And because you won't be back for a while, I'll see what's around."
And that's when I found you. Adored by another middle-aged woman, you'd spent almost your entire life travelling three days a week from North Auckland to Takapuna and back. I could have eaten off any of your surfaces, you smelled like lavender on a summer's day, your service record was second-to-none and - most importantly - my backside fitted into your driver's seat as though we'd been made for each other.
Your first owner was gushing. "I don't want to sell it," she admitted, "but I've got newborn twin grand- daughters and the car seats don't fit. I'm going to cry when it goes."
And she did, handing over your keys and flicking her head at a nondescript hatchback settling itself into your garage space. "Take good care of it for me," she choked. "I've only got this thing to look forward to driving now."
I remember driving you home, taking the long way to enjoy your handling. I opened your windows, even though you had second-to- none air-conditioning, and let the breeze swirl my hair around my face. It was bliss.
In the past 18 months, you've been a cherished member of our motoring family. Eldest Child brought you down to New Plymouth for several months when he relocated, and Quiet Middle Child had a couple of driving lessons in you, coping well with your gentle demeanour.
Boy, have we been around the block once or twice! I've loaded Dire Straits or David Gray into your CD and blasted the both of us to all corners of Auckland and Taranaki. You impressed my parents so much that they bought a snazzy blue companion for you. I have to say I loved you like my own child.
However, others have not. Hubby has constantly complained that he looks gay driving you to work, and my brothers have liberally teased me for having a wannabe citified car that pretends to have capacity for rural work but is as handy as tits on a bull.
Even my sister has, once or twice, mentioned that you are a "nana car" for middle-aged women desperately grasping on to the dregs of their youth. Even though I scoffed at that, just lately I've been getting worried.
You see, you have a problem. It now costs us $120 to fill your petrol tank and that only lasts a week. I've tried hard to find a solution, but nothing has worked. So, with heavy heart, I have accepted an offer from Mustafa, a kind elder brother wanting you for his sister, who - like me - believes her dream car is a Rav4.
As I count down to the hand- over day, I thank goodness I had you for 18 months. You've been a good servant that's assisted us through thick and thin, and I salute you.
And I will miss you enormously.
Your loving owner, Kathryn.
Taranaki Daily News