He Told Me So This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     It’s my turn now. Dad drove it down the driveway, up the lane and into the field, so now it’s my turn. Mom doesn’t think I can do it. Dad says I will. I’m glad somebody has confidence in me. I most certainly don’t.

I nervously climb into the driver’s side, close the door and wait patiently as Dad explains a few things: don’t do this, do this, don’t worry, things might be a little bumpy. Then I ask how the other kids were at this, and if I will be any good. Could you explain that again? I take a deep breath and turn the key ...

Time and again, I start it. Each time, the powerful machine shudders and dies. Once, it actually starts nicely but my frustrated hand reaches to turn on the ignition because it has become such a habit. Of course, something has to happen to mess it up!

My critics (my mom and older sister) watch from the garden where they are “weeding.” Occasionally we hear a shout or whistle from their direction, causing a nervous grin to flit across my face.

Shudder, stop. Start, race, shudder, stop. Repeat.

Amazingly, my frustration isn’t building at a rapid rate because Dad is a patient, understanding teacher. It is a good thing because this process is taking a long time.

Then something clicks. Like the final piece of a puzzle sliding into place, there is that last connection of understanding. As the crisp fall breeze brings the faint smells of horse manure and gasoline into the red ’85 Dodge Ram, something clicks. I reach over, a slight here-we-go-again smile on my face, turn the ignition, brace for battle and begin to let off the reluctant clutch and push in the gas pedal.

Any second now, I know I will hear the choking, and feel the shuddering, back and forth movement. But then, a wonderful thing happens. There we are, past the point of no return, drifting along the grassy, tire-streaked field.

Could this be? I turn my head to look at Dad and grin. I have done it! He said I would. He told me so.

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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