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

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     My dad stepped out of the car, and it was then that I realized exactly what was happening. A woman walked behind my car and shouted, “Left blinker. Good. Right blinker. Good. Tap the brakes. Good.” She spoke sternly, but I was not intimidated. She proceeded to make herself comfortable in the passenger seat and introduced herself as Carol, or Caroline, something like that.

“Should I put the car in drive now?” I asked.

“Well, if you intend to drive, perhaps that would be best,” she responded sarcastically. That irritated me. Now I wanted to pass not only for myself but also to show her I knew what I was doing. Looking back, that seems kind of stupid since I doubt I’ll ever see her again.

I pulled out of the parking space and began driving through the course. My eyes were all over the road, but, at the same time, focused in front. I saw stop signs, crosswalks, cones and everything else they were throwing at me. I started up a small hill and she told me to pull over and park. I tried to remember everything I had learned in Driver’s Education, but it had been such a long time. I flicked my blinker, pulled over and put the car in park.

“Is that all?” she inquired.

“I guess so,” I replied. As I put the car back in drive, I realized I had not used my parking brake. She’s going to fail me, I thought. Everyone at school is going to laugh at me. No more mistakes, flawless driving from here on out. We proceeded into a small square area of road with cones lined up on both sides.

“I want you to drive to the back of the box, do a three-point turn and drive back to the front,” she commanded. I executed my K turn with absolute perfection. There was no way she could take any points off.

“Now, I want you to reverse to the back of the box, pull forward, and then parallel park between those cones,” she ordered next. This sounded a bit tougher, but I reversed perfectly straight and proceeded to pull forward. I put on my left blinker. A drop of sweat fell from my brow. I pulled the tail of my car into the space and then straightened out.

“You can measure it if you’d like, but I think that’s six inches,” I said with a smug smile. She let out a small chuckle. I was not sure if it was because she thought I was funny or because I was so far away from the curb. She told me we were done and to drive back.

“You did well with your stopping, turning and parking,” she said, and I let out a sigh of relief. “But you did not put on your parking brake when you parked on the hill,” she continued, and the relief I had just felt vanished. “Despite that error, I think you deserve to pass,” were the final words she uttered to me.

“Thank you! Thank you!” I nearly screamed. I drove over and picked up my dad, then walked triumphantly into the DMV building to get my driver’s license.

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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