Awkward Ride This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

December 29, 2010
There's five of us. I've had to learn four names in the past two minutes. Already, I've lost three of them, and the last one is just floating around – I'm unsure who to attach it to. I never have been good with names.

It's a Honda, gray interior, an Accord, I think. I didn't see. Five seats, and I'm riding shotgun. Nobody really fought over it, just filled in the seats quietly. I was the last one in. I glance around. Strangers, all of us. All of you.


You sit pretty tall in the driver's seat, blue eyes on the road. A safe driver. You try to engage me in conversation without much success. I honestly can't think of anything to say. Nothing worthwhile, and the non-worthwhile stuff would only keep the talk going for a few sentences. Futile. So my responses are just a handful of words at a time.

Plus – maybe because you're concentrating on the task at hand – most of your words focus on driving: how you like driving on asphalt more than cement, how drivers who text annoy and scare you, how you're trying to break the habit of constantly going two miles over the limit. You've only been pulled over once.

I don't know how to explain that I never got around to getting my license. I have friends and family to ride with. I don't relate to you. It gives you something to say, to fill in the holes. But eventually you give up, and the comments become fewer and farther between.


You sit in the back and talk with her. I don't know what about – some kid named Robin and the annoyance of front rows in movie theaters – and I don't care. I think you're the only ones who knew each other before 10 minutes ago. I can't see you from here, but I think you're blonde.


Green shirt. You sit in the middle back and talk with her. I still don't know what about. The chatter – inane, shallow, pointless – is comforting to the rest of us. Like a blanket. You see, if you keep talking, we don't have to. Our silence is made a little more bearable because at least somebody is speaking.

Suddenly she erupts into laughter mixed with scolding, and I gather you just said something somewhat lewd. I wasn't listening. I don't want to know.


You're behind the driver, leaning on the door, watching the world fly by. You have short hair, and it's dark red. I'm reasonably sure that the one name I have belongs to you – Matt.

You haven't said more than six words this whole time, even fewer than me. I suspect you're the youngest.

You don't like the station on the radio. I don't like it either. I doubt the driver likes it. The other two don't seem to care. But nobody wants to be the one who suggests changing it.

After a bit, a better song comes on. You hum along quietly, but during the pauses, we can still hear you. The girls next to you pick up hurriedly where they left off.


I'm number five. I'm tired and blinking.

How long until we get there?

Somebody's phone buzzes. Quickly, they find it and shut it off, not even bothering to answer.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

Join the Discussion

This article has 22 comments. Post your own now!

Boota said...
Sept. 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm
i think its pretty cool. but i think its missing something.
readaholic This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 4, 2012 at 7:48 pm
I liked it, but it felt kind of...empty. Like, I expected something to happen at the there something I'm not getting? I mean, there was nothing wrong with it, maybe there's something i just don't understand...?
Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Feb. 4, 2012 at 9:45 pm
No, there really isn't much to understand. It's just a bit of description. I was really surprised when they published it becuase there's no story surrounding it.
4qui133 said...
Jan. 22, 2012 at 6:37 pm
this makes me think of the title of one of my own works, though the plot of that one is entirely different: The Liminel Room. I haven't submitted it to ten ink and I don't think I'm going to, so don't look for it. It's just that this piece was sort of an in between--to somewhere, from somewhere. that should be the name of another work. great job! :)
otherpoet said...
Jan. 1, 2012 at 4:41 pm
I like this piece - you keep a reader intrigued without letting them know what's going on. Good job!
leafy This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 20, 2011 at 5:50 pm
I'm surprised on how not many people who commented on this got what this was about...
StarChild replied...
Jan. 31, 2012 at 12:03 pm
Then what is it???
DarkMountain said...
Dec. 18, 2011 at 3:21 pm
Very nice. Hard to tell whether it's a commentary on the awkwardness of car rides with people you don't know, or an interesting introduction to a dark novel. I think I like the second option better. it's interesting to contimplate what or who these people are, where they came from, where they're going. Are they survivors, warriors, just kids? Are they lost or searching for something or just running away? I'd love to see more! 5 stars :)
LittleMiss said...
May 30, 2011 at 10:55 pm
It's a quite interesting peice, Intriguing, really. I love all the different takes on the different people.
krarthurs said...
May 30, 2011 at 9:49 pm
Car rides with strangers really are the most awkward of situations. Love your style, very short and witty. Good job!
PJD17 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Mar. 23, 2011 at 6:26 pm
Unique and impressivly written  very deserving of publishing even if you didnt know that it was published  i would greatly appreciate it if you could check out my story Manso's Shame and give me some feedback on it
LaffyTaffy27 said...
Feb. 2, 2011 at 8:04 am
This piece was amusing and kind of described my life at was awkward, which fit the title, and actually kind of funny. Thank you for sharing!
OhRaVe12 said...
Jan. 28, 2011 at 5:29 pm
This was a really good piece, there was so much imagery. I could actually picture the awkwardness in my head.
Mr.ShootThemDown said...
Jan. 11, 2011 at 12:14 pm

thats really good work


Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Dec. 30, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Oh my gosh, this got published?!

It was an experiment in describing a scene without revealing a storyline. I didn't like it much and had it deleted it two weeks after it was put on the site. That was three months ago! I wasn't emailed or alerted about anything concerning the mag...   Is this a mistake?

MikeWilhelm replied...
Jan. 4, 2011 at 12:29 pm
Well it's pretty good and it doesn't reaally take that long to publish it. You should be proud you wrote it.
Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 4, 2011 at 5:46 pm
I'm not exaggerating how long ago this was- I was really suprised. Thanks for your support, though I don't think this is my best writing on the site at all...
Elizabeth_Day This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jan. 7, 2011 at 6:38 pm
I thought it deserved publishing.  It might just be a snippit of a plot, but you described the awkwardness SO PERFECTLY!  We've all had an awkward situation like this.  It displays some fantastic writing skills even if it was just an "experiment."
SpringRayyn said...
Dec. 30, 2010 at 9:31 pm
Everyone seems really confused and so am I. What is going on and where are they going? Is there a point in you writing this? It doesn't seem to be telling us anything important. Are you planning on continuing this and doing something with it?
lyssa28 said...
Dec. 30, 2010 at 12:45 pm
it makes sense but its confusing at the same time! but its dtill good. Very mysterious
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