I don’t attach any value to material things.

So, I was completely shocked at myself today evening.

Despite our crazy evening schedule today, he didn’t rush me.

I lingered in the front and back.
I walked around.
I got in.
I ran my cold hand through the steering wheel.
I was shocked as the tears started dripping down my cheeks.

Kumar, the gentleman he always is, waited, patiently, a few hundred feet away.

How do you walk away from a decade?

How do you?

We had picked up the 8 year old minivan almost a decade ago when we were expecting Ari.

Since that moment…

Drop offs.

The list is endless.

During one of our mountain climbing trips to Yosemite, Kumar and I had parked the minivan in Tulume Meadows and slept the night in the back row… so, we could get a headstart on the long trail that lay ahead of us.

I forget the count of family members and friends who have ridden in the minivan over the years.

We have used the minivan to help friends move so many times.

My mom and Kumar’s mom have ridden in the minivan and felt proud with how their 5 foot daughter navigated the beast of a machine tactfully and speedily through traffic.

After long awaited dinner dates, many friends have sat in the passenger seat beside me after dinner… chatting away in the wee hours of the night in a well lit parking lot… catching up…. crying on my shoulder or letting me cry on their shoulder…not saying a word but just holding each other to cope with a lose…or laughing non stop about old times. All that drama in the minivan.

So much eating… laughter..singing… and partying in the minivan.

This is the minivan into which I packed bare essentials, the boys and the dog and drove 1800 miles with Kumar from CA to TX to start our life over.

So many accidents in the front, side or rear. And, I have survived those accidents and lived to tell the story.

How do you walk away from a decade?

That is why I felt compelled to linger and say goodbye…. as if the goodbye was to a very dear friend that I’ll never meet again.

Later in the night, as we were driving back home, I questioned myself. Was I cheating myself with some fake detachment mentality? If I was truly detached from material things as I think I am… why did I have such a difficult time walking away from a giant piece of metal with great horsepower.

I kept mulling.

And, finally, the answer came to me.

I am not attached to the mechanical marvel that was my chariot and served the family so well in the last decade.

I am attached to the memories of a lifetime that were made in and through the minivan.

And, I am ok with that. I should be. Should I not?

I am not a saint to detach from memories. Wouldn’t that make me inhuman? For better or worse, I have to live through this human avatar during this lifetime… so, might as well hold on and cherish the memories.

Hence, the fond goodbye to a fond friend.

Also published on Medium.

Originally published at ambalbalakrishnan.com