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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!

Hannah_Spins said...
May 27, 2010 at 8:41 pm:
I enjoy this piece of writing a lot. I thought you thought it through very well, and I really love the idea of it!
 
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horse95lover said...
May 27, 2010 at 8:04 am:
this is so great!
 
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rosaliehale said...
May 18, 2010 at 6:24 pm:

Wow! i loved it! Im a super sarcastisc person so I loved the sarcarsm and the end sentence was perfect. But  you made a point to! Great job!

 

 
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Cuore said...
May 5, 2010 at 9:20 pm:
Wow. I thought she'd dided for a while there. That was really good.
 
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Striker said...
May 5, 2010 at 4:51 pm:
Really good and kind of funny. I love how you ended it. It was awsome.
 
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Liddie This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
May 5, 2010 at 11:46 am:
wow! this is amazing! I love that last sentence!
 
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Grrcya said...
Apr. 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm:
Ouch. Very bitter. I like.
 
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SandyC said...
Apr. 15, 2010 at 4:16 pm:
your intro and conclusion were incredible..but thats not saying the rest wasn't..on the contrary, i loved the body of your story. I especially love the sarcastic tone with which you write...overall, and amazing piece of writing..keep it up!!:)
 
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Wellington This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Apr. 9, 2010 at 8:30 am:
its very well written.....i really like this, and i just wanted to say that i absolutely love The Smiths! 
 
DaisyC. replied...
Apr. 22, 2010 at 8:02 pm :
Same here. Great work!!
 
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Charlotte_Bukowski said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 9:29 pm:
Very, very well-written. Your introduction is what hooked me; I enjoyed how you used concrete, alloted time intervals (CD's, songs) on an abstract theme such as time. There was a certain dry wit throughout the piece that somehow managed to soften the horrid event yet at the same time bring more attention to its severity. Exceptional work!
 
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monicalillian said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm:
i like it, it kinda makes me think about an instant but then goes into depth in the later paragraphs. It almost literally pulled me into the story please keep writing youre fabulous.
 
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deardiary said...
Mar. 22, 2010 at 7:06 pm:
i love ur introduction. the first sentence deffinetly cot my attention :)
 
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sasssgirrrl22 said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 8:58 pm:
whoa very creative. it kept me drawn in from the beginning. i luuv it plz keep writing!!
 
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alwayswriting14 said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 4:25 pm:
It was a really creative way to write the story! I really liked it- it held my attention the entire time.
 
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Waterlogged said...
Feb. 28, 2010 at 10:20 am:
This was really good! I really liked the way the emotion and the sarcasm was intertwined!
 
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Pinoy_Poet This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 15, 2010 at 10:51 pm:
Phenomenal! The way you made light of such a serious situation was awesome, and the beginning was very well done.
 
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AmnyR said...
Jan. 15, 2010 at 8:04 am:
ok, i know everyones said this already, but great job with the sarcasm! its really hard to write sarcasticly, but you pulled it off beautifully! wonderful piece!
 
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LeslieAnn said...
Dec. 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm:
Increadible
 
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maki:p said...
Dec. 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm:
nicely done
 
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