Anyone paying attention when we started hanging out probably thought we were as mismatched as our cars.
I rode in the Jimmy a few times the semester that Zac and I were peer mentors together at the elementary school. He always kept a Bible on the front seat, which intrigued me and gave me a sense of security when I realized he had a crush on me.
Eventually, Zac did ask me out. I accepted, panicked and gave him the “let’s just be friends” speech less than 24 hours later.
We lost touch until my high school graduation. A few days after I got back from my trip to Gulf Shores, we went out for Subway sandwiches.
Zac picked me up in a 1996 Chevy Blazer, which I was surprised to learn had replaced the Jimmy.
Our first date was to see “Shrek 2.” Halfway through the movie, Zac smoothly took hold of my hand. As he drove me home that night, I strategically leaned on the armrest between us in the Blazer in case he wanted to do it again.
We were standing beside the Blazer during our first kiss (in the Walmart parking lot, no less) and again the night Zac first whispered “I love you” in my ear.
We spent that Fourth of July sitting on the tailgate watching fireworks and talking about the future.
Zac asked me where I saw myself in five years. Neither of us imagined that I would be his new bride and about to find out that I was pregnant with our son.
That was also the night that we killed the battery in the Blazer by leaving the radio on while we talked for hours.
We both panicked when the lights flickered because I had a strict curfew. We ran about a half mile in the dark to Zac’s house, jumped in his mom’s car and broke the speed limit to get me home on time.
The summer of 2004 was memorable for a dozen different reasons. It changed my life in ways that I wouldn’t come to understand for years, and one of the best things I have ever done was breaking up with Zac at the end of it.
I tried to act like I had no regrets, but the truth is that I cringed every time I saw the Blazer on the road or in the Pig parking lot.
Oddly enough, the radio went out in it a couple of months after we parted ways, and it doesn’t work to this day.
Zac and I reconnected about a month before I graduated from UAB.
Although we had both evolved into better versions of ourselves during our four years apart, Zac still had his same sweet smile. And the Blazer.
I didn’t realize how much that old truck meant to me until the radiator blew up in 2010.
In a moment of weakness, we almost practically gave it away to someone at the garage where Zac had parked it. Thankfully, my Daddy stepped in and fixed it for us.
Several weeks ago, the water pump and a couple of other parts went bad in the Blazer. This time, it took my grandfather, my brother, my dad and my husband to put it back together again.
That black Blazer is as hot as an oven this time of the year.
It gets embarrassing gas mileage, is cleaned out once in a blue moon and a couple of its doors don’t even lock.
In short, it’s a hunk of junk. And Zac has my permission to drive it until the wheels fall off.