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

December 7, 2008
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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 99 comments. Post your own now!

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.
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!
LeslieAnn said...
Dec. 24, 2009 at 3:01 pm
maki:p said...
Dec. 24, 2009 at 12:33 pm
nicely done
AzureGal said...
Dec. 8, 2009 at 3:49 am
I love the story and amazing sarcasm in it LOL.. =) Write more!!
The Reader! said...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 8:04 pm
I loved that story. I love how I can really feel what she feels, and I like how it's humorous even though the situation isn't that great. Write more!
unnamedorigins123 said...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 1:02 pm
Wow, I really enjoyed this. Your voice comes through really well.
dragonfan replied...
Dec. 2, 2009 at 6:48 pm
wow,i loved this it was great
Lil_bear said...
Nov. 17, 2009 at 12:10 am
Holy cow, I LOVED it! That was pure gold. Seriously. Everything about it. The sarcasm made me laugh (I'm sorry I couldn't help it) but at the same time it made me think...AWESOME! Write more please! :D
sarah.c This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 22, 2009 at 6:35 am
Absolutely great!like the sarcasm
Schubster said...
Aug. 16, 2009 at 7:28 pm
I know lots of ppl have commented, but this piece was great! Very sarcastic and flowed wonderfully. Love it if you checked out my work. :)
Stina said...
Aug. 16, 2009 at 10:16 am
I liked it! The way you write is interesting to read and enjoyable!
laurel567 said...
Jul. 4, 2009 at 12:27 am
this is great! i forgot i was reading a fiction piece:)
Emily M. said...
Jul. 3, 2009 at 3:47 pm
wow, what an incredible piece!! it left me sitting there, thinking. absorbing the story. it really was amazing. the sarcasm, the way the author talks about it, truly unique! way to go! keep writing please!!!
Destyni said...
Jul. 2, 2009 at 10:46 pm
You've got it all... love the irony and sarcasm.
LikeWoah<3 said...
Jul. 2, 2009 at 1:42 am
that was simply amazing one of the best pieces i have read on here lol
Zero_Kiryu This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jul. 1, 2009 at 11:52 pm
I love the sarcasm, especially the last sentence. I also love how you say how long it took the narrator to do everything and then you hit them with the fact that it only takes an instant to lose everything. Love it!
AjentVee said...
Jul. 1, 2009 at 11:19 pm
This article is absolutly awesome! Throughout the whole thing I had my jaw to te floor. Excellent work.
GlassHeart said...
Jul. 1, 2009 at 7:32 pm
I loved the sarcasm!!! Really really great!
Valkyrie_123 said...
Jun. 24, 2009 at 5:00 am
very well written. Amazing work you did Madison!!!!
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