Judith came into my life in the autumn of 2007. I had just gotten home from my two years in Chile and I needed to get out of the house! Judith fit the bill. Sure she wasn't beautiful by any means, but she had great personality. She was also fiercely reliable; there for me no matter what.
She was there for my late night secret rendezvous and never said a word. All the drama with Matt and Chad and Andy... oh, she was such a sport! Judith would wait outside quietly until I was ready to go home or act as if she didn't notice if I made out in the backseat. She wasn't one to judge. Ever.
She would give me rides to work, rides to my classes at Otero Junior College, she would even take my sneaky butt to church on Sundays. Judith and I were inseparable. If I was someplace, you could be sure Judith was there too. Attached at the hip. Some of my friends, however, scoffed at her.
"Judith is lame, Jack," they would say. "She seriously sucks. Why don't you get rid of her?"
"Shh! Or she'll hear you. You guys don't know Judith like I do. She's such a sweet spirit."
Sweet spirit was a name Mormon boys would use in reference to ugly girls, implying that their only positive attribute was a kind heart and not a pretty face. They all laughed of course when I said it, but I meant it with the utmost respect for Judith. I loved Judith in a way.
We were such friends that she even moved from Colorado to Utah with me. What a fun road trip that was! Eight hours across the mountains, singing loudly with the radio, windows down because the AC was broken.
Judith was around for my life-altering semester at Brigham Young University and even helped introduce me to Brian. She was there for all the difficult visits with the bishop, my eventual "coming out," and all the tears that came with it. Judith was a rock, never flinching in her desire to be of assistance. Sometimes we would just sit alone and I would cry.
But Judith was sick. Looking back I can see the signs so clearly, bur for a long time I had no idea. Maybe I was a selfish friend, too preoccupied with my own problems to notice hers. Maybe I just didn't take the time to care. She always supported me, but did I support her? Did I give her the help she needed?
Over our three year friendship she had a few major breakdowns. I had been there for her then. Helped her as best I could. But why did it take her near destruction for me to finally care?
I don't know. If Judith resented me she never let it show. Always the optimist. Always selfless. She'd bounce right back and the two of us would be out on the town once more.
She helped Brian and I make the transition to Salt Lake City, but I began to rely on her less. She was getting shaky. Temperamental. Some days were good and some days were bad. "It's the sickness," I thought. But did I help her? No. I just avoided her; left her on her own.
I hate to say it, but I didn't see her at all the last few months of her life. We didn't communicate. We didn't see each other. I made no efforts to fix what was once such a beautiful relationship. For all I knew, she was rotting away on the street somewhere.
This morning, however, I saw Judith for the last time. They came and loaded her up, taking her away for good. Her body has been donated to science and her parts will be stripped away and put to use elsewhere. I can't help but feel a little sad.
After all, Judith had been my car for three years.