THE CAR

Gatsby had to sell his car to survive during the period when he was without work. He asked me for money for a used car as an advance on his future earnings in the business. The car broke down soon after, and I myself took it to the repair shop to find out what was wrong with it. They told me that the engine was totally destroyed and that it would only be possible to fix it at a very high price. It was not worthwhile and I did not like this at all. I was tired of these events that always happened around Gatsby.

"Something is going to happen," I used to say to myself, and I sensed that I was not going to like it."

Any intimation that cast doubt on the fact that expenses would be strictly controlled was not acceptable to me and I thought that it would amount to proof that we were heading for a collision. We spoke about it. Gatsby told me that he needed a new car because having a used car wouldn't work for him for very long. It was true. Gatsby appeared to push everything that was around him, especially car engines, to the very limit. He argued that we had enough money for both a car and to build the business. The car would be in the name of the business. He insisted.

I did not like anything that I was hearing. I exploded. I was sick of those impractical ideas. I guessed that something new was happening but I did not want to know about it. Deep down I was rejecting that which Gatsby was, something that he carried in him that was so unreasonable and at the same time so vitally his. It was the second time that I faced up to what he was. He listened to me amazed, looking at me as if something new was living inside me. We said goodbye.

After some time I was able to sit back and reconsider. Something was happening to him. The car had turned into a need for him and I had not wanted to understand the reason. I was starting to see my friend as a giant who destroyed the support that he rested on, and his personality as a weight on any business that he might want to start. And Jimmy had not even appeared yet. At the moment it was just him.

Almost immediately after this thought I spoke to him on the phone. I found him very changed. His attitude towards me had turned harder and he spoke to me in terms that assumed that our entire work relationship had ended. For the first time I found in my friend a level of instability that was totally new to me. I understood that everything he had been through had ended up taking a toll on him.

I thought that it had been the contact he had had with Demian which had molded his new character. It appeared that Gatsby was covered by an impregnable shell and yet I noticed that it was unstable, as if its maintenance consumed more effort than was sustainable. Apart from that there was no sign of weakness in him, no fissure. I was sure that Gatsby had experienced intense fights on a spiritual plane.

In Gatsby I saw a person with a very well developed interior strengths, able to manage complex organizations with all their unique aspects. It also appeared that these strengths, like a dammed body of water that was not being refreshed, were becoming unhealthy. They were building inside him as if they were a weight, a cancer. I understood that it was Demian's plan to drown Gatsby in these waters, and he was achieving it.

Through his eyes, I saw the car as a balance to my friend's instability, like a comforting liniment. For someone who hasn't lived through the experiences, it may be difficult to understand what cars meant to us.

At the beginning I regretted seeing Gatsby's newfound instability; I saw it as a problem. But I did not want to abandon him and I decided that it would be me who chose the car that was going to bring him peace of mind.

We enjoyed the whole purchase process, as we had in the past. When a car hits the road for the very first time it is a very special moment. We had not even driven a couple of miles. I could not stop admiring Gatsby's car through my rearview mirror. It looked very elegant. Suddenly another car left its lane and headed directly towards my friend's car. He swerved rapidly to the right and avoided the collision.