Tonight, I slid the car key off Buttercup for the first time since we got the extra key some time in late 2001, and laid the empty keyring at its usual place by the door.
Tomorrow, T's parents take over the car. We were going to sell it anyway, what with T quitting his job and all, so in a way it's good that his parents decided to take it over instead; it means we know it's going to a good home (T's dad is far more scrupulous about washing his car every week) and we'll still see it every so often.
But despite us not transferring ownership (or, for that matter, the name on the bank loan), the car won't be ours anymore. It won't be there in the morning, blinking its dusty green at me (assuming T hasn't driven to work) as I walk to the MRT station. It won't be there for us to hop into whenever we're overtaken by a whim to drive someplace to eat (and many good eating places in Singapore are notoriously not public transportation-friendly). I won't whiz down the PIE or ECP* with Bon Jovi or Van Halen or the Buffy musical Once More With Feeling soundtrack blasting loud enough to drown the background traffic noise.
A car's a thing you think you'll own when you grow up. Your parents usually have one, even in strictly controlled Singapore. Adults talk about cars: how much it costs to fill them with petrol, where to park them for free, what the latest models are, what crazy accident one saw or witnessed while en route to work, how the latest government revision of car ownership policies further diminishes the value of each vehicle.
Adults always want newer, better cars. Me, I'm happy with our Beamer (a 1997 316i, for anyone who cares). It was my dream car for a long time, I let T talk us into getting one, it served us faithfully and brought a little whiz-bang excitement into our lives. I'm happy. I don't need to own another kind of car to feel I've had my adult car.
Which makes it all the more difficult to yield it to T's parents tomorrow. Yeah, we'll see it again tomorrow night, first thing, since we're all having dinner to celebrate T's coming birthday. But we always said we have a Beamer, so we can't afford to have a child. I'll miss our baby.
* The PIE (Pan Island Expressway) and ECP (East Coast Parkway) are local highways that pass near where we live.