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Do you have a song that instantly teleports you back in time? For me, that song is “With You” by Linkin Park. It reminds me of that perfect summer day when Mike, Jesse, and I were speeding down the highway in Mike’s blue Sunbird. When we were blasting our new favorite album Hybrid Theory from the rattling car speakers.

Mike was the first of us with a driver’s license. He had saved up enough money to buy himself a used 1992 Pontiac Sunbird. It was a bright-blue convertible, decorated with a thin red stripe along its sides, the inside smelling of vanilla and old smoke. I remember Mike spending hours polishing the car, despite it being scuffed up and having been rear-ended; Mike insisted that if you squinted your eyes hard enough, the football-sized dent was imperceptible. We didn’t care one way or the other: the car gave us the freedom we had been craving; its CD player provided the soundtrack. Nothing else seemed to matter. Quite unlike us, we weren’t self-conscious as we shouted along with Chester Bennington. That day, we were the cool kids, no doubt about it. Two weeks later, Mike was dead.

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