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It took me 15 years and 364 days to turn 16, three tries to pass my driving test, and several months of nonsense to finally earn the right to drive on my own.

It takes a song and a half to get out of the school’s hellish parking lot at the end of the day, until the second chorus of “Sweet Child O’ Mine” to reach the first traffic light, and more or less half of any album in my collection to get home.

It takes an instant to lose everything.

Not one of those commercial instants either: Lose ten pounds instantly! Regrow a full head of hair in an instant! In an instant, that troublesome fungus will disappear! When those people use the word instant, it means at least a minute, or, if they don’t mind lying to the public, days or more. I don’t imply, and I don’t lie. When I use the word instant, I mean a fraction of a second. I mean less than a heartbeat.

I mean my head through the windshield, my mouth still open from singing along to whatever song I was listening to the instant before.

It wasn’t even my fault, not really. I suppose I could have chosen a safer car, but when deciding between a bunch of safety features I might never even need and CDs I would absolutely want in the next year or two, my judgment was not at its best. I blame the economy, and the constant civil war between heart and head. I blame The Killers for coming out with a new album every five minutes, and statistics that say I would probably never die in a crash anyway.

Come to think of it, the accident wasn’t even the other driver’s fault. I would probably run a red light if I were late for a dentist appointment too. Maybe not one at a busy intersection, but who’s to say it wasn’t a really important appointment? Perhaps he was getting a new filling. Yeah, I’d race across the road with no regard for traffic in my 2004 pickup for that, too, especially if there was nothing in my way except a wimpy ’98 Civic. Because I would be the only person on the road. Every other car would be driven by a robot, a drone that doesn’t matter in my world. The only thing that would matter to me is being on time for my appointment.

Like him, I too would be surprised when, after stepping out of my barely scratched vehicle, I saw the other car scrunched up like an accordion, like a piece of paper balled up and thrown against the side of the street. I would be shocked to see blood on the shards of glass strewn about the pavement because apparently I hadn’t realized running that light meant plowing into the Civic, which would lead to crushing the 17-year-old inside it. The 17-year-old who just wanted to listen to The Smiths while driving home.

Maybe I’m being too bitter about all of it. After all, the other driver did stand by while someone else called 911, waited patiently while the paramedics extricated me from my mangled vehicle, and even went through the trouble of leaving a note of apology beside my bed in the hospital. I, of course, wouldn’t know of his contributions to my well-being until after I woke up from the coma a week and a half later.

I sure hope his dentist was a good sport about rescheduling.

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




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This article has 95 comments. Post your own!

AnonymousKLM said...
May 14, 2011 at 4:38 pm:

Awesome story, the sarcasm was perfect in this story.

Five stars

 
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krzykrys said...
Apr. 22, 2011 at 10:04 am:
That is absolutely terrible to think about, but it probably happens almost every day. It reminds me of a drunk driver story. You wrote it very well. keep writing!
 
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DoodlezTheScribe said...
Mar. 31, 2011 at 10:23 am:
This is hands down my favorite story on the entire site. The premise is engaging and the writing is emaculate. I can't wait to read more of your work! =)
 
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WingsFlyingHigh This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Feb. 15, 2011 at 3:44 pm:
This was awesome! I loved it, and the sarcasm was really good. Just one small thing - in the beginning, she talked about "losing everything". In the end though, you didn't say what she lost. Did she come out of the coma all healthy and ready to get back to her life? Did she lose a limb, or the ability to walk? Her memories? I was a little confused at the end because of this. Otherwise, it was awesome!
 
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DaydreamBeliever This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 2, 2011 at 10:53 pm:
I absolutely love it!!!! i clicked all five stars by the second paragraph. I loved the sarcasm and the innocence, i wouldnt change it at all!
 
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Melissa H. said...
Jan. 2, 2011 at 9:14 pm:

This is really spectacular!  I love it.  a couple things to improve it:

1) give a little more background on the person.  Not neccessarily a name, but maybe a classs he/she takes in school, driving his/her sister/brother somewhere, something to let us in a little bit more.

2) give a hint of sarcasm before he/she gives the big sarcastic thing about the truck hitting the Civic.  It took me a couple seconds to get it, so that little hint. 

I love it! ... (more »)

 
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mimirocks124This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jan. 2, 2011 at 6:42 pm:
this wuz relly relly gud !
 
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Suziepatricia said...
Dec. 13, 2010 at 7:08 pm:
really good descriptions and great way of storytelling against the serious topic :) i liked it
 
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ilovepolkadots said...
Dec. 11, 2010 at 1:03 pm:
I loved this.
 
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bella049117 said...
Dec. 11, 2010 at 10:58 am:
i luv how u write it and added your own little touches of sarcasm. beautifully written
 
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thestorycritic said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 10:14 am:

Like: Sarcasm :D

Dislike: nothing, actually

Verdict: Super! :)

 
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SkyeLyne said...
Oct. 20, 2010 at 7:40 pm:
I love it!! The touches of sarcasm and different perspectives
 
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communicativedistractions said...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 6:34 pm:
nice sarcasm :) It's really tried, true, and obvious *awesome*
 
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notebookgirlThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Sept. 14, 2010 at 9:07 pm:
wow this was really good. i love the idea of switching the angle from the man who hits the girl to the girl being hit. 5/5
 
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KiraS. said...
Aug. 23, 2010 at 4:00 pm:
I love it! it's really good! i like how the main person is so calm!
 
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JessieBecker said...
Aug. 1, 2010 at 6:37 pm:
i love this piece. I was originally just skimming through articles when yours caught my eye, and It was definitely worth the read(:
 
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little.miss.mars said...
Aug. 1, 2010 at 2:46 pm:
I really did like this story, and how you totally expected her to be the one to have the totaled car and dead. I love stories with the twists at the end :)
 
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DiamondsIntheGrassThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 1, 2010 at 11:00 am:
i cant put my hand on it, but there is somthing about this article that makes it different and AMAZING! is it point of view?
 
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SilentOwl said...
Aug. 1, 2010 at 3:35 am:
I LOVED this piece; the sarcasm was so well used, and I just adored every sentence.
 
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MeganSeesStarsThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 10, 2010 at 10:06 pm:
i love it. i ant expectng it so itwas awesome.
 
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