Saturday, June 12, 2004

The early morning sky was still dark, with just a hint of light starting to creep in among the clouds. Jeff guided the Impala into the Avis parking lot slowly. As we went over the one-way bumps, something at the back of my mind wondered if this time, the tyres would explode on the sharp spikes of those bumps.

"Check out that bump," Shrish had said on the day we took the car out of the parking lot. The three of us looked out of the Impala and were impressed.

"That's how Avis keeps their cars inside the parking lot. See the way the spikes point inwards? Cars going in will go over the bump and over those spikes safely. But those going out will get their tyres punctured. The only way out is through the other lane."

"Nasty," commented Jeff as he drove us out of the lot. I had nodded agreeably, wondering why the tyres never hit the spikes when we drove in.

The Impala was eased into one of many long rows of cars. Jeff killed the engine, and I handed him the Avis documents. I realized that this would probably be the last time I hear the warning chimes that sounded when the engine was off with the keys still in the ignition. The sound of our doors opening woke Shrish up.

"Let's go, Shrish," Jeff said as he got out of the car.

The trunk door unlocked with the press of a button, and I lifted it up. The three of us started to unload our bags silently. The cold morning air washed over us, a gentle reminder that this was our last morning in America.

As Jeff went off to settle the rental matters with the Avis attendant, Shrish and I slowly transported our luggage to the shuttle terminal. I took a glance back at the Impala. Unlike the Blazer we rented earlier, this one I managed to drive around quite a bit. By then, I had really grown fond of it. And that's quite a lot for a guy who didn't like automatic gears and power steerings, everything the Impala was about. There was a thrill about slamming your foot down on the accelerator and making the car leap forward, the gears automatically changing themselves. The bulkiness and the handling took a little getting used to, but the awkwardness soon wore off after a few trips from the hotel to the plant. It was a car to be missed.

"Well, that's that," I said to myself as the shuttle bus pulled up next to the terminal.

"Pardon?"

"Nothing, man," I turned to Shrish as I caught sight of Jeff hurrying towards us. "Let's get these bags on the bus, eh."

As the bus started heading out, I gave the Impala one last look. All nice and white in the brightening day. Maroon 5 started singing over the bus' speakers.

I was so high I did not recognize
The fire burning in her eyes
The chaos that controlled my mind
Whispered goodbye and she got on a plane
Never to return again
But always in my heart

This love has taken its toll on me
She said Goodbye too many times before
And her heart is breaking in front of me
I have no choice cause I won't say goodbye anymore

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