Selfish

February 26, 2012
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We sped down the dark freeway in complete silence, without speaking, radio or even rhythmic tapping to pass the time. I stole a glance at my grandpa every couple of minutes, to see if his hardened expression had softened in any way, but it hadn’t. I looked down at my cut and bruised arms wishing we could just teleport home and be done with this uncomfortable ride.
Suddenly he broke the silence, so abruptly that I had a mini-heat attack.
“So you’re not even going to say sorry?” said my grandpa. It was more of a statement than a question, but it still caught my off-guard, of all the things to be said, why this?
“What? Sorry? Why should I be sorry?”
“There you go again Beth. Never thinking about anybody but yourself. That’s how we got into this mess, you being so godd*mn selfish.”
“We?! I didn’t ask you for anything, are you—“ I began.
I shut up as the old car jolted to the right as he swerved to the side of the road. He pulled over, slammed on the breaks and ripped the stick into park. This time, he looked me right in the eyes before he spoke.
“What do you think you’re mother would say right now if she could see you?” he said sternly.
I looked away from his piercing green eyes back down at my crossed arms. I noticed the hospital wristband I still had on, and ripped it off.
“I…you know what? They would ask me if I was okay, since I just got in a car accident! And not call me selfish!” I responded, meeting his eyes again.
“Yeah okay, you’re right. It’s not selfish to get hit at an intersection. But you know what is selfish? Getting high and drunk with your loser boyfriend, driving and running a red-light because you can’t even see straight. All because you have some problems?!”
I ran my hands through my hair, and winced as I went over the stitches on my forehead. I thought for a moment, unbuckled my seatbelt, and got out of the car. I could walk to my friend Amy’s house, it was only a mile or two away.
“WHERE DO YOU THINK YOU’RE GOING? GET BACK HERE NOW!” I heard over my shoulder as I began walking on the side of the road. And I knew he was right, I was being selfish. But so what? If this was how I wanted to deal with things, it was my life to live, and my consequences to suffer. I saw the headlights from my grandpa’s car illuminate the path in front of me, and the tears that starting falling into the dirt. The car pulled up beside me, with the passenger door still left hanging open.
“Beth, please. Get in the car. This is stupid.” He pleaded.
I wiped the tears out of my eyes, and looked at him. He seemed sincere, and I thought about getting back inside with him. But when I kept staring back at him, he got more frustrated.
“You are throwing your life away, all because of that stupid boyfriend of yours. You know what? You’re acting just like your mother when she met your deadbeat of a father. And he got her killed!” he yelled.
I kept silent for a few moments, and could feel all of the anger I had ever felt rise up inside me.
“DON’T CALL MY DAD A DEADBEAT!” I screamed back at him, so loud that it hurt my throat. But I didn’t care.
I stormed to the old car and slammed the door closed. I kept walking, and this time the car didn’t follow. After a couple moments, the car sped past me, spraying dirt up into the air, as it went back onto the freeway with reckless abandon.





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