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Riding with Nicole This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

The music flooded my eardrums; there was no way to escape the noise. I loved it. We sped down the highway, laughing at something that probably wasn't funny. My sister somehow had the ability to make me laugh no matter what.

Nicole wanted a car of her own more than anything. Being the hardest worker I know, she went to driving school every night, learning as much as possible in order to earn her license. Finally, after passing the nerve-wracking exam, she was allowed to drive. Now all she needed was a car.

Months went by and still no car. Then, one cold November night, my parents surprised her with a brand-new white Honda Fit. Her eyes glowed as my mom opened the door. It was dark, but the car shone as it sat in the driveway, waiting to be driven. I could see the excitement on her face. Eyes wide. Jaw agape. My dad tossed her the keys, and she took it for a spin around the block.

Six months of impatience trudged along until Nicole could legally drive me. It was awful knowing she had a way out of the house, but I didn't. Mom and Dad couldn't always drive me, so more often than not I had to find rides with friends or stay home. I wanted those six months to shoot by. I wished they were six minutes, six seconds even. But they felt like six years.

I remember the first time I rode with her. I didn't have to listen to Mom saying, “Turn that music down!” or “Would it kill you to make conversation?” There was no one to tell us what to do. Finally, we were free to have a good time.

Being a seventh grader, I was dealing with lots of issues at school and with friends. Nicole liked hearing about my day and who the school was raging about this week. Besides my D.A.R.E. officer and health teacher, Nicole was the first to talk to me about drugs and peer pressure. It was comforting knowing I could sit in her front seat and listen to her talk about high school life, decision-making, right from wrong, that sort of stuff. I didn't (and don't) enjoy talking to my parents about those things, but Nicole made me want to listen.

“Do you like school?” she asked one day, as we were driving to the mall.

“Nope,” I responded. She laughed and told me to “suck it up 'cause it only gets harder.” I knew she was right, but I was in no mood to spend my weekend stressing over school. She continued cruising at the speed limit, music in the background, not too loud, not too soft. We drove in silence for a while, not because anything was wrong but because we were exhausted from interacting with teachers, parents, and coaches, and needed time to relax. It was a relief knowing I didn't always have to talk during a car ride. Mom and Dad always thought something was wrong if I was quiet.

“I'm not upset. I'm just tired and need a break from conversation,” I tried to explain to Mom one day. I never had to explain that to Nicole. She knew exactly how I felt.

It was the best feeling, being driven to soccer practice, friend's houses, or school by someone who knows how you feel. The stress of homework, popularity, friends, sports, and everything else the average teenager deals with, can get overwhelming. Being in the car with my sister was calming and took the day's stress away. It didn't matter where we were going; riding in her car, nothing mattered.

Both Nicole and Mackenzie, my big sisters, were in high school and were loaded with work day and night. They were always locked in their rooms, heads buried in textbooks. I didn't see them as much as I wanted, but in Nicole's car, we had a place where work didn't matter. We had a place where we could enjoy each other's company. That's the way siblings should be.

It's funny how something as simple as a car can bring people together. My sisters and I realized that we wouldn't have each other forever. Nicole's car was a perfect spot to forget whatever stress we had, and catch up. It brought us together. Siblings often take each other for granted, but before you know it, one by one, we're off to college. We only get one childhood, one chance to make it as fun as possible. If my sister hadn't gotten her car, we wouldn't have come together the way we did. We wouldn't have made these wonderful memories.

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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IAmWhoIWantToBe said...
Apr. 16, 2012 at 4:12 am
This is quite nice--the story and the fact that you need someoen who understand what you feel. I feel the same way about tired of interacting too. I hope someone can understand me... 
 
cheer1018 said...
Jan. 6, 2011 at 12:50 pm
This was very sweet.  I do not have any siblings but reading this made me wish i did.  Its really nice you have someone to talk to who is your age and not someone who has complete dominance over your life.  i really enjoyed this.
 
PirateQueen791 said...
Jan. 1, 2011 at 11:20 pm
The theme here is so beautiful, and so bittersweet, and so true! I'm the oldest of four, and right now I'm the only one in high school, and it's hard to be there for your siblings all the time- especially when you've spent so much time away from home, working hard, that you don't want to spend the time constantly playing, which sometimes feels like working. This was a nice piece.
 
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