Leaves fell from the car’s roof when Patty opened the passenger door. The lever releasing the shotgun seat had been, for a few years now, nearly impossible for his friends to budge, but he knew the trick. He slid his chest onto the back seat and glided his hands over cigarette burns to where the cushions met, reached between them, looking for the miniature orange and blue woven wool satchel his favorite girl had given him for his birthday.
Patty proceeded to check every crevice of his ’89 Prelude’s interior, lifting the splotchily stained floor mats, removing some books and debris from beneath the front seats. An old Doors cassette nestled within a tear in the center console, 'Waiting for the Sun,' saw its first daylight in years, but no satchel.
All hope lost, he retreated from the car and stood staring at it: bungee cords holding its back bumper in place, rear wheel missing a hubcap, scratched metallic green paint.
Resigned to visit the girl without the small pouch and its contents, he climbed into the driver’s seat through the passenger side door, just because it was already open. He popped in the old Doors tape and listened to 'Love Street' as he drove to her apartment.
When he arrived and parked the Prelude, something unexpectedly fell to the pavement. He looked down and there it was. Must’ve been lodged between the door and the driver’s seat all along, he thought, smiling. As he walked the front steps of the apartment building, he turned back toward his worn old ride. It seemed like the car was winking at him: one headlight open and the other one shut. For all of the vehicle’s frequent malfunctions, Patty couldn’t recall any headlight issues, but his memory may have been foggy.
(Listen to The Doors' 'Love Street' here)