Stress Free This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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For five days a week for nearly a year, stress surrounds me. Projects, tests, and homework consume my time. Always having to struggle harder than the average student to satisfy both parents and teachers. Always having a fear of failing. Success or failure, its always one or the other. Never is there a midpoint but only one or the other. Two extremes. If it is not immaculate then it is useless. So much work to do it seizes time from my social and personal life. It seems a never ending cycle. Luckily, I get a break even if for ten minutes, a much needed break. A slow drive back home from school in my relaxation zone, my car.

As I come upon my parking spot to command the road in my Japanese engineered automobile, I can not help but notice dusty coats of rain remnants all over the Nissan. Several coats accumulated from previous showers of rain and roaming on dirt roads to drop off friends. But only enough of it to distinguish the filth at the right angle and with the precise amount of sunshine beaming down on the dark blue car, or swiping a finger across the smooth metal to collect the shield of dust. With a closer inspection, the X and Z shaped scratches engraved into the paint of the trunk emerge. The crystal clear tail lights manage to quickly shift my opinion from scrutiny of the imperfections on the skin to astonishment by redirecting the sunlight into my eyes. The tail lights appearance gives me a little glimpse into the cars image in its prime when the past owners bought her five years ago. Contrary to the impeccable tail lights, the head lights have an old yellowish tint that refracts the wavelengths inhibiting them to shine as bright as they can. But what people tend to acknowledge first are the massive black twenty inch rims sustaining the car up. The tires are worn out from scraping on the aluminum shell from unusually high speed bumps. Although the outside is pristine, it is the interior where I have memorable moments.

My rosary beads hang down from the rear view mirror along with a pink Chinese lantern made of paper given to me as a gift. Both items trigger retrospect of two influential people in my life. Loose change and trash accumulate for months nearly pouring out of the two cup holders nudged in between the divers and passengers seat. Thankfully, the seats are fluffy but have an ideal level of firmness to support both my back and bottom. The drivers lounge has perfect separation from the peeling steering wheel to drive properly without feeling any pain at all. The blizzard like air blasts in my face calming down the sweat gathering from intense UV radiation being emitted all over the state of Arizona. The dark grey interior transforms my car into a greenhouse, hotter inside than out. Unfortunately it also makes detecting fallen items a tedious task. The back seats keeps record of all of amazing experiences spent with Rosie, friends and family. Mountain Dew Cans, Circle K fountain drinking cups, fourteen water bottles, torn up boxes of starburst, and several empty gum packs were laid waste of after their primary use. A black and blue basketball, two black shorts, and torn headphones on the floor from playing basketball all happen to be possessions that never fail to put a smile on my face . Perhaps best of all though, is my authentic one dollar sombrero from the great country, Mexico. A symbol of pride and heritage. tan colored with jagged textures standing near a foot tall with the tip rounded off at the top. Red tipped with a green band around the neck. Just below that reads “Viva Mexico” painted in bright red letters across the top of the bill. While underneath It simply says “Mexico.” Even though it has no real practical use, the memories I have with it make it priceless.



All sensational memories occurring in the Nissan rush into my head, once comfortably dug into the drivers seat. I suddenly remember to pull out the keys from my pocket, and pick the largest key with a black plastic base and insert it into the ignition. Turn the key slightly and electricity flows though out, nudge once more and the harmonious sounds of metal and chemicals working in unison are heard. Out of instinct now I reach over my left shoulder and firmly grasp the seat belt slide my hand down it until I find the metal hook waiting to be clicked. After a few blind tries I find the gap and plunge the hook, filling the empty space. A sigh of relief is only noise I make aloud. After a long hectic day at school, anything non-educational seemed like paradise. So I set the car in drive, double check to ensure a safe path of oncoming traffic, adjust the wheel to the left as much as possible, and gently begin to put weight on the pedal. The route back home is now instinct. My thought processes drift from stressed to relaxed. I recall the various unforgettable events that took place in my very own car during the short lived trip.


Sadly, the three piece water fountain in the front yard of my house rises in the horizon. Reality begins to set in. Worry over the next project or big test set in. Unfortunately once more, I was now in the garage with the car turned off, seat belt off, and starring off into space. The weight being lifted off my shoulders was a magnificent feeling, even if for eight minutes. This could be why I enjoy the drive back from school so much. Or probably the feeling of being in control and not assignments. Perhaps even both. Whatever it may be I can not wait for the car ride tomorrow.





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