An Unbelievable Car Ride This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   In my almost seventeen years of life, there has not been a day that I haven't known Bobby. For the first few years, he and his family lived across the street. Our parents were very close and essentially we all grew up as one family, completely inseparable. But nothing ever stays the same and Bobby's family moved away. Our parents kept in touch but things got pretty distant after Bobby's parents separated. When he was like my brother, age didn't matter, but when it came time to be friends, a freshman in high school isn't really interested in being friends with a fourth-grader like me. Along with his being older, there were other things about him that were drastically changing. It started with cigarettes in junior high and then daily drug use and now alcoholism.

Christmas night, 1995 our friendship was reborn. Bobby was now twenty and had chosen to live as somewhat of a recluse. We talked for two hours that night, and when I left, I felt like he was my friend again. Over the next few months we grew closer until we considered each other almost best friends. I ignored several of his characteristics that were potentially dangerous. He would tell me about his drug and alcohol use as if it were not a problem. I had never seen him do it and maybe I thought I never would, especially since he'd given up acid and was talking about quitting everything completely. I knew and still know that he has a heart of gold. That's how I see Bobby.

Unfortunately the story gets worse. November 2, 1996 was his step-father's 50th birthday party and he showed up drunk with one of his friends. We hung out the entire night and it was great. But when it was time to leave, everything changed. I was supposed to drive him to his cousin's house because his mother didn't want him driving.

I am not a stupid person and I know what is safe and what situations are dangerous. The biggest mistake was ignoring my conscience and getting into that truck with Bobby and his friend. Like I said, I have weaknesses toward my friends and I do things I wouldn't normally do because I trust them. Bobby is my friend so why should I be scared? Let me give you three reasons: 1) alcohol 2) alcohol 3) alcohol. This was the first time I'd seen him this drunk and I was not ready for what happened.

A twenty-minute ride turned into the most terrifying three hours of my life. We drove on back road after back road going from 20 m.p.h. to 120 m.p.h. whenever Bobby had the urge to stomp the gas petal. Or maybe, during one of these bursts of speed, he'd decide to drive across someone's lawn and swerve onto the street just before hitting their mailbox, maintaining the same speed. Or he'd get angry for a few minutes and scream and yell. At first this was all aimed at his friend who wasn't the least bit upset.

I had been crying off and on during this ride because I'd never seen Bobby yell or be so hauntingly angry toward his friends, or anyone for that matter. I was afraid of the stunts he'd try either for fun or as a result of his anger. I reached the point of begging, literally begging Bobby to just stay on the road. When that didn't work, I sat there and cried. There was nothing else I could do. You would think that seeing your best friend cry might spark some kind of remorse, but there was none. The coldness of his voice sent uncontrollable chills through me. He had turned into a complete stranger. I honestly did not think I would make it home alive. We were on the highway at this point and he decided to go home instead of to his cousin's. The last trick he pulled was going about 80 so that we passed everyone on the highway and then, being in the passing lane, cutting the wheel so hard we were in the breakdown lane. From that point, I cried nonstop until I got home. He yelled at me, threatened me enough to last for numerous lifetimes. I was so numb by the time I got home that I hugged him not knowing whether I love him or hated him. Or maybe I hugged him because he got me home safely.

Ironically, the next weekend Bobby and his friend were out driving drunk again and crashed. Thankfully neither was hurt but it brought everything "crashing" home. We've all heard about drinking and driving and how you should never get in a car with a drunk driver. We all say the same thing: "Yeah, I know. Whatever." But now I've experienced it and, although I am unhurt physically, I am permanently scarred. The emotions were overwhelming, especially the feeling of betrayal.

I wouldn't wish this on my worst enemy. Don't ever think that because you're friends with someone it's okay. Bobby played with my life, and so many others that night, and I won't ever forget that. He didn't care. By chance, we all survived.

We are still friends. I have forgiven him, although he never completely apologized. He will always be my friend, but he is also an alcoholic. When someone is an alcoholic, they are their own friend and nobody else's - even if they claim to be your best friend!


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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