Alfa Romeo

By Renata Strzok

Before the boy met the girl, he bought the car, and fell in love with it. You might say: “no wonder, that car is really beautiful.” Or you might wonder what had gone so wrong that he preferred to love a car rather than, for example, himself.

The boy couldn’t be called handsome, not by a long shot. He was overweight and had acne from eating the cheapest ready-made foods that he bought at a supermarket near his trusted hand car-wash place. He wouldn’t start a healthier diet, go to the gym, or see a dermatologist for his acne, because that would have meant unnecessary expense.

There was no love in his life, but he knew that eventually he would find a girl who’d fall for the car. And from then on he would have someone to love the car with.

 

One day, the girl met the boy and his car as she was walking back home after class. She didn’t even notice what make the car was when he asked her casually if he could give her a ride. She agreed because she knew him from the university, and she thought his smile was nice.

From that day on, they would spend time in the car together after class. Initially, their conversations were awkward and boring. He would tell her about how the car drives in different weather conditions, and she would tell him about the many different things she liked to do. Clearly, they had little in common.

But after two weeks or so, she stayed in the car after he pulled up in front of her apartment, and they made out. Over the days that followed, a mild passion developed between them. And after a month, in a low voice, almost a whisper, she invited him to her apartment to stay overnight.

She had fallen in love with the boy who gave up on himself for the sake of a car. In the long nights that she spent lying awake in her bed after he dropped her off and drove to his place, she thought about him with love, with admiration, with pity. She thought about how noble it was of him to love a thing that couldn’t love him back, how simple he was in that.

You might think it was noble of her, too, to love this homely, broken boy. Or you might wonder what had gone so wrong that she preferred not to be loved back.

 

Their love broke into bloom. The next night, he came to her apartment on foot after he made sure that the car was safe in the garage, and that his remote starter with built-in alarm functionality was working.

The night was warm, the moon was shining, and nothing worth describing happened in the girl’s apartment.

Their love continued to bloom for quite a few months, with romantic rides to the seaside and long hours of trying to get each other’s attention about what they were trying to say to each other.

But it ended in hatred, anyway. Because one day she realized the full extent of what it meant that he loved the car more than her. So she left a Mars bar wrapper on the passenger seat, and left it in such a way that the seat got smeared with chocolate. After a few hours, he discovered it and called her to say he wanted to speak to her in person. He came to her flat and hit her on the cheek during an angry tirade about respect. How did she dare . . . .

Don’t tell me that you are surprised by this ending. After all, could you really trust a boy who loved his car more than himself? And could you really trust a girl who didn’t want to be loved back?