Publish date:

A Long Love Lost

She was the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen. We would go
everywhere together--games, golf courses, long drives to nowhere
at all. I'm sure my wife was insanely jealous, but this hottie
was worth it.

We used to have so much fun, just the two of us, soaking each
other with the hose, going to the park and staring at each other
for hours, pulling into the drive-in and hearing the other guys
whistle. Yeah, she was high maintenance--and expensive. I was
forever buying her stuff I was sure I'd bought her only the year

Everybody, though, said she was the most gorgeous beauty in
town--with her cute little rear end, sweet headlights and
succulent curves. Damn, you should've seen her with her top off.

She was my little red 1961 Corvette. Rag top, white coves, 283
fuel-injected engine, big white sidewalls, gleaming chrome, big
steering wheel, fuzzy red dice. Lord, she was fast. She could get
rubber in all four gears.

We were together for 10 years, and every day with her was a joy.
I could park her anywhere. Nobody messed with her. That car
seemed to cut across age, sex and race lines. Old people ("I
remember when those came out!" they'd say), middle-aged folks
("I was born that year!" they'd screech. And I'd reply, "Yeah,
but most of her parts are still original") and kids ("Cool car,
mister! What kind is it?") all adored her.

I remember the day I had to have one--11 years ago, at the Miami
airport. I was schlepping my bags out to the curb when a
Coppertone blonde wheeled up and her J. Crew husband jumped over
the passenger door, into the seat. They sped off, laughing,
kissing, the wind in their hair, the road opening up into
rainbows just for them.

Once I had her, I took her everywhere. Drove her in parades.
Lent her to photographers. Used her to chauffeur my
brother-in-law and his bride from the church, the long veil
spread out over the trunk. They sat up high on the back while
the people threw rice. Uh-oh. My baby was going to have more
rice marks than Elizabeth Taylor. So I punched it, and the bride
fell backward and nearly out.

That car was a slice of Americana. If I happened to be in a bad
mood, I knew not to take the Corvette, because people wanted to
talk to me at every stoplight. People love classic Vettes like
no other car ever built. That's classic Vettes. When you drive a
muscle Vette, you look as if you're on your way to pick up your
Viagra prescription.

Did women like that car? Does Homer like beer? Single men, take
my advice: Forget hair clubs, cool lofts, partnerships at the
firm. Just get a '61 Vette and you will have more women than a
Tupperware convention.

But I let her go. It all happened so fast. We weren't speaking.
I think she blew another water pump. Doesn't matter now. We were
both hot over it. So I put money down on a sleek new Lexus
coupe, walked into the kitchen and said to the wife, "Well,
looks like we'll have to find a storage unit somewhere for the
Vette because I just bought a new car!"

My wife looked at me as if I had said I'd boiled our three
children and was now adding carrots. One sports car is all I
get, she said. Sullen, I put the '61 Vette up for sale. Every
guy who called about it said the same thing: "I've been looking
for a '61 ever since the day I sold mine!"

"When was that?" I'd say.

"Twenty-two years ago."

She sold on eBay in eight days, and the next thing I knew a huge
flatbed truck was idling in front of my house. I had to bundle
her up as if I were sending a child away. I had to fasten on the
hard top, which I'd never used. "She doesn't like to wear this,"
I protested to the truck driver as he pulled away, window closed.

It felt like somebody had stored my chest in dry ice. I went back
into the garage and couldn't believe how empty it was, how ugly
it was, how useless. I stood there, and, for a few seconds, I
cried. I realized how stupid I was being and that there was only
one thing I could do to get on with my life.

You know anyone who wants to sell a '61?


She was the most gorgeous beauty in town, with her cute little
rear end. Damn, you should've seen her with her top off.