I remember it like it was yesterday — pulling into the used car dealership with my parents, ready to pick out the new car I would drive to school each day. It was every 17-year-old girl’s dream. Why were they getting me a car, you might ask? The real answer is they were sick of driving their last kid half an hour to school each day and an hour to work every weekend. But they said it was to teach me responsibility, build my driving skills and because I really, really wanted one. So for all intents and purposes, they were getting me a puppy. As we mulled through the aisles of slightly dinged-up Hondas, Fords and Lexuses (Lexi?) I heard my mom and dad bickering over what type of car to get me. My mother wanted a gas-guzzling military tank that would protect her baby through World War III. My father was gunning for a sporty mid-life crisis car that he would inherit when I went off to college. And that’s when I saw him. Tall. Dark. Handsome. Six years old. A burgundy 2009 Subaru Outback that I would come to call my own. He test-drove like a dream. He had A+ safety ratings. He had an aux cord. When my eyes met his headlights, we both just knew. I struggled with his name at first, unsure of his past life. Though I temporarily settled on Rashida Jones, I eventually came to hear him whisper “Big Boy” through the air-conditioning vents. Big Boy and I would go on to forge an unbreakable bond in which he taught me many lessons in patience, forgiveness and just how wonderful it was to travel significant distances without exerting any physical effort. Driving Big Boy home for the first time that glorious August afternoon was one of the best days of my life. While nobody else in my family likes to roll the windows down because of silly reasons like it “hurts their ears” or “wastes air conditioning” or “impairs their vision,” I finally had the freedom to feel the cold wind against my cheek as I navigated the open roads. I got to blast my Billy Joel and sing at the top of my lungs. We were living the teenage dream. Big Boy and I had a beautiful, whirlwind honeymoon stage those first blissful weeks. But dark details about our pasts would soon come up as they always do in any long-term relationship. For example, Big Boy learned that his predecessor, a little blue Prius we had inherited from my grandmother, had been brutally totaled — by me — a few days after I got my license when I turned too fast and drove it into a parked car — which I also totalled. As for Big Boy, I would soon come to discover that he wasn’t the sweet soccer mom car I thought he was. When we bought him, we were given no information about the prior owner except that he had been a salesman leasing Big Boy for business each year. I couldn’t help but wonder, why would a salesman need such a big company car? I would find the answer one fated September day, when I began exploring Big Boy’s GPS and found mysterious addresses saved from all over the country. A few Google searches later, I discovered that many of the addresses saved in Big Boy were in fact medical marijuana dispensaries. My mind began to leap to questionable conclusions, and suddenly it made sense why a company car would need to be so large. That’s why his trunk is so big. It’s full of secrets. It really sucks finding out that your car was a drug pusher before he met you. You can’t help but wonder — what other, harder drugs has he transported? Does he still transport now? Has he driven under the influence? From that day on, every time I honked the horn or quickly changed gears I half-expected a bag of drugs to fall from a hidden compartment into my lap. It was hard to process this at first. But, like any true love, my relationship with Big Boy only grew stronger from these revelations. He would go on to not only drive me to high school each day, but also keep me safe through the rough-and-tumble streets of Charlottesville even now. He’s stayed with me through it all — driving home drunk friends, road trips through the mountains and high-speed chases down Route 29. We’ve been together for about two and a half years now, and the magic still hasn’t died. Whether a five-minute drive to the gym or a two-hour drive back to Charlottesville, it’s always been Big Boy and me, and whatever hot new beat (the Wicked Soundtrack, probably) takes the aux cord that day.