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The Second Deer This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     As I take the final bow at my junior-class play, a sense of pride overwhelms me. My friends and classmates are all there to cheer me on and I've never felt closer to them.

After talking with fellow cast members, I head to the parking lot. The clean crisp air of the fall night is a comforting smell as I approach my car, shining in the moonlight. Just walking to it puts a smile on my face. I got it just three weeks ago and it is my pride and joy. Your first car truly is your first love. It's more than something that takes you from Point A to Point B, you live in your car; it is part of you, it is your freedom.

I'm heading down the road, thinking how great this night has been, and am right outside town when a flash of brown dashes in front of me. A deer! I immediately think of what my dad always told me about deer: "Where there is one, there are always two or three." As his words echo in my head, I brake.

Be safe, I tell myself. You are in charge of your car.

Just as my dad had warned, there's another deer. I guess I wasn't braking enough because as I glance to my left, the second deer is heading straight for my car. Before I can think, it slams into my car, shatters the driver's side window and the windshield, slides across the hood and breaks another window. My entire car feels demolished.

My car comes to a screeching halt. I can hear myself screaming. As I try to relax I pat myself to make sure I really am still alive. No broken bones. No sprains. Nothing. I think, God sure must have had a hand in this. It could have been so much worse than just a banged-up car.

I try to gather my thoughts and look to my right to see the deer limping away. I am so angry.

Couldn't I at least have killed it? I think, but at the same time I feel sorry for it. Then my sympathy fades, and all I want is for that deer to be lying on the side the road. I want revenge!

As I try to calm myself, I realize that throughout the incident the car didn't even stall. I put it back into gear and look for the nearest gas station. That's when the tears start, and they seem endless. My car is difficult to drive because it now has no power-steering fluid. As I yank on the wheel to pull into Pump-Mart, it dawns on me that it is 11 o'clock at night, and Pump-Mart is closed. My only option is the pay phone.

As I try to call home my hands shake so much that I dial the wrong number and have to start over. My heart lifts when I hear my mom's voice, but then plummets when I hear the click of the phone. I have no idea what happened. I try again. This time it connects. I catch my breath and try to tell her what happened. She tells me my dad will be there in a minute.

I take a moment to look at my car that I love so much. The hood is crumpled like a piece of wrapping paper after Christmas morning. Pieces of shattered glass cover the inside. As I bend to look at the door, something brown catches my eye - a piece of fur is stuck in-between my hood and the door. This is when I decide I don't want to look at my car anymore.

I sit on the ground bawling with only a blanket to keep out the cold. Then I see headlights pulling in. I realize with disappointment it is not my dad, but two of my friends from the play. They greet me with smiles and questions. When I explain what happened, they give me comforting hugs.

Like many at my school, my friends do a lot of hunting. One now has the brilliant idea to hunt down the deer. He jumps into his truck and 20 minutes later we hear two gun shots. Soon we see his headlights. As he pulls in, we peer into the back of his S10 pickup and see an enormous deer. A 10-point buck! For the first time I feel like I have something in common with the hicks - I got my first deer.

At this minute I think my friends are the only thing keeping me sane. They have made me feel much better about what happened because they're keeping it light. They make funny jokes about how I'm an awesome hunter and that I'll get a cool rack of antlers out of it. They even think it would be fun to take a picture, so I stand there with one hand on the deer and the other one tightly curled into a fist so I won't start crying again. I take a deep breath, knowing that life will go on, but with a new understanding of who I am, and what kind of friends I have.

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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