Catalogue page: British Car Auctions
An auction hall filled with cars.
Vintage, classic, collector's vehicles; all
shapes, sizes, colours and marques
on display here today - all
for some reason no longer wanted.
A discordant cacophony
of excited voices conjure images
of a cattle market with all
the anxiety and suffering that implies
for those poor wretched animals - like these
with their four wheels and polished bonnets
instead of legs and fur coats.
Unbidden emotions begin to stir
in my solar plexus. My eyes
prickle with embryonic tears and I wish
to be a million miles away - or just
at home sipping coffee from my favourite mug
on an ordinary, nothing special day.
But this is an horrendous day, an
'I wish I could re-write history' day; when
grief and remorse are simultaneously
devouring me from the inside out.
All I want is to be sitting inside her
on Portsdown Hill admiring the view.
I need one last day with her.
Checking my watch. There's still
twenty minutes of ownership left.
So my attention focuses on the other entries.
And it strikes me that each one of these
beauties has a story to tell - about us,
and that brings me full circle
back to UNK. I've loved in her,
laughed in her, cried and screamed
words of anger - all this raw emotion
recorded in the fabric of her being
will exist for as long as she does.
But, soon, a new layer will bury mine.
At the appointed hour, the auctioneer's voice
is carried through the Tannoy into each corner
of the packed hall. Instant silence.
Anticipation is almost palpable.
Most of the first twenty-one entries
fail to reach their reserve prices, and
I can't help but hope it will be the same
with UNK, can't bear the idea
of a stranger's hands on her steering wheel.
Then those words like a sword through the heart:
'Lot 22!' Please don't let anyone bid
I pray silently inside my head.
But attack comes from every direction
like a conquering army, even through
the airways from France and elsewhere.
Figures rise, up, up. Spirits sink proportionately
It's as if I'm losing a love. No, worse,
a part of myself for twenty-one years.
Eventually it stops. The hammer falls.
Death sentence on ownership is passed.
All hope is lost. She's almost quadrupled
her reserve price, but how can mere money
compensate for the empty space I'll have to face
in the garage and in my heart?
'Well, we had a result there!' our agent
smiles, shaking hands with us and mistaking
these now falling tears for those of joy.
For how he know we'd let her go
not out of choice, but that increasing needs
for maintenance overwhelmed us?
Now, as we leave this fateful building
there are trailers everywhere
with happy buyers celebrating
their latest pride and joys.
And how it cuts me up inside
to walk away from mine.