I had a dream about her the night before I quit smoking. She was falling apart after years of abuse. Her body sagged and her top was loose. She was that kind of dirty that comes from driving fast on desert dirt roads washed only by the occasional downpour. The man inside looked the same.

Maybe I dreamed about her because I started smoking the year we met, when we were both 18. Maybe it was a sign that a part of me was being given away, just like I gave her away 9 years ago.

We met in Arizona my freshman year of college. I was at a flight school. I had the pilot glasses, the pilot jacket, the pilot liver, and the pilot grin, but not the pilot car.

I remember seeing her for the first time, sitting in a dusty turn-out. As I rode past, the first thing I saw was her front end.

Two black oval grilles, flanked by headlights stacked one on top of the other. Her massive hood had two similar air vents. She looked like a monster – and fast. My eyes tracked back over her candy apple red body to gently sloping rear fenders. Her top was covered in taut black fabric with the lines of metal supports showing through.

I yelled to my friend who was driving, "Pull over!"

We circled her like jackals, our freshman hangovers suddenly gone. My friend read the sign out loud: "1966 Pontiac GTO, Convertible. 389, cu. in. 360 hp engine, 4 brl QuadraJet, Racing cam, Posi, $2,400.00 OBO" and a phone number.

I called.