December 21, 2017


A couple of nights ago, Yangkyu was in a three-car accident at an intersection. Most likely our car will be considered a total loss. We went to the collision center yesterday to get our belongings out while we wait for the insurance company to make the decision. 

We bought our Toyota Matrix in May of 2009. It was three months before our wedding. A good friend of Yangkyu's who is a car enthusiasist helped Yangkyu test drive cars so that he can choose one that is right for him. For us. Yangkyu sometimes isn't the greatest at making decisions, especially on big ticket items, and so he asked me to come with him the day he was to buy the car. He said it is going to be our car.

"What did you decide on?" I asked him, to which he replied, "Probably the Honda Civic." He had driven the Civic before. It was familiar. 

We both don't really have interest in cars, and so I just replied, "I see..." when I saw a cute little hatchback parked near our apartment. 

"Hey Yangkyu? What's that car over there?"
"That? That's the Toyota Matrix."
"It's cute."
"Do you like it? Should we buy that one?"
"Ok! Let's' test drive it today and buy it!"

And that's how we decided on our first car together.

His colleagues at the time saw his new car and called it a rat color (because it was grey and while it sounds a little odd in English, when said in Korean it doesn't sound all that weird). When he told me this story, I suggested to Yangkyu that we name our Matrix Despereaux. I think the movie The Tale of Despereaux was playing in the theaters in and around this time.

When I recall back to our memory as a family, like Piri and Bartles, this car is always a part of it. It helped us move from New York to Maryland to our condo in Virginia and then our first home. 

It was a small car but it was mighty. We used every little crevice to pack it up with Piri's carriage and our bags and went on so many road trips. It helped us get to the hospital for Piri's surgeries and treatments and silently drove in the darkness with a lifeless Piri in the front seat. His last ride. A heartbroken Yangkyu and me, it seemed as though Despereaux stayed strong to help us get through this difficult ride.

When Bartles came back to us in the form of ashes, I held him tightly and our Matrix, once again, like it has always done, safely got us back home. It welcomed Lady for the first time after we met her at an adoption event and brought her to her forever home. 

When Yangkyu and I had trouble conceiving, our car was there, bringing us to and from clinics for tests and infertility treatments. When those didn't work, we gave up but somehow miraculously got pregnant, which was, unfortunately, short-lived. And in the middle of the night, just hours before we were to move to our home, I miscarried while sleeping. Yangkyu held my hand, a broken me crying and in pain, and our car got us safely to the emergency room. And afterwards while I was holding back my tears, this car of ours took in my wails as soon as I got in and locked the doors. It blocked all sounds and acted as a protective shield for what seemed like hours while I wailed and wailed and wailed. 

At the end of the day, it is just a car. But to me it's a car full of memories.

At the collision center, those memories came back to me. And I cried at each passing memory.

To be honest, I have been bringing up the idea of getting a new car. Yangkyu said the Matrix is still good. And since Virginia has a car tax, it seemed like a waste of money for us to keep two cars (although in the end, that is what we said we would do so that I can start to drive a bit more). But we agreed to wait a bit longer until we bought a new car.

I thought that till the end, our little hatchback kept us safe, kept Yangkyu safe in the accident.

Yangkyu said, "Piri, Bartles and the rest of the gang of misfits said they needed to use the car over across the rainbow bridge. So they decided to take it.."

Yangkyu always makes up stories like this. And they always seem real. 


  1. Sounds like you guys have been through alot with Despereaux. It's terrible that the car is totaled now but thank goodness Yangkyu walked away from the accident just fine.

  2. oh jane. i am glad yangkyu is fine. but i can definitely relate to your story of having desperaux. it must've hold so many memories and you seem to cherish it a lot. sending loves to you <3

  3. Yangkyu stories are always so wonderful :) It's amazing where memories can be stored, I definitely have a similar attachment to my car and I know when it goes, I'll do some reflecting too - I hope everyone is doing okay xoxo


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