Growing up, my family’s car was always a five-seater and so were my close friends’ family cars. As a child, wherever I went, the car I travelled in was almost always a five-seater. However, my maternal aunt’s husband had a car that was usually used as a five-seater but could turn into a seven-seater by adding two extra seats in the middle.
The summer when I was nine, my aunt and her husband organized a large family trip at a hot spring resort not too far from my hometown. My maternal grandmother and her younger sister, my aunt’s husband’s mother, my mother and I were the guests who joined the trip, and we were seven people in total. Everybody had travelled there by train except for my aunt and her husband. They were travelling with that special car which was usually a five-seater but could transform into a seven-seater.
The second day of our trip, we were all invited to hop on to the car for a local sight-seeing. As my aunt opened the door, I saw three rows of seating instead of two.
“This car has many seats!” I exclaimed, unable to hide my excitement. “I’ve never seen a car with three rows of seating! It’s like a minibus!”
I immediately seated myself in the middle row next to the window. My aunt and her husband were at the front, my mother sat next to me, and behind me in the back row sat my three “grandmothers”. As soon as the car started, I looked back and started chatting with my grandmothers, telling them how fun it was to sit in the middle row.
“Usually, I can only talk with people in front of me,” I explained to them eagerly. “But now, there are people both in front of me AND in my back! I can talk with them both. How fun is that!”
The window next to me was slightly open, and as the car sped down a slope, the fresh air came in and blew on my face.
“How amazing!” I shouted with a smile. “It feels as if we were travelling with an open car, doesn’t it?”
While I thoroughly enjoyed travelling in this magical car, everybody else seemed to have had a lot of fun seeing and hearing me. The adults said to me many times how great it was that I could get such big excitement from such small things.
“It’s not the car that’s magical, its’ you!”
That was such a fun and memorable trip for all of us, and in my mind, everything about that trip is captured in that single moment when we were all driving down the slope in that magical seven-seater car with beaming smiles on our faces.