Arrive Alive

Caitlyn B

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“Eva, want me to hold that?” “No, no, I’m fine. I do this all the time,” she replied. It was the end of finals, junior year. A few of us decided to head to the beach, celebrating the beginning of our ultimate year of high school. “It’s just Google Maps, I’m not going to kill us or anything.” We cruised along for a while with Gianna in the passenger’s seat, Reagan and I in the back. Eva is notoriously known for her awful driving, but we all know she means well. No one has the heart to tell her we sometimes fear for our lives while she is in the driver’s seat. Eva is also the only one of us who can legally drive with others, so I’ll take a little fear over not being able to do anything with friends. Besides, she passed her driver’s test; she can’t be that bad of a driver. About ten minutes later, Eva’s phone goes off. “Hey, it’s that guy I was telling you all about! I know you hate it when I text and drive, but—” “Um, no,” Gianna interrupted. “Give me your phone. Okay, let’s see here… Ooh, it’s Jacob. ‘Hey Eva, sorry I haven’t replied. Phone died,’” she reads aloud. “Uh-huh, likely story.” “Ugh, shut up! He hasn’t said anything in days, do you think that means anything?” “Yeah, it means he’s a jerk.” “True,” Reagan piped up from the back with me. They went on like that for awhile, talking about this ninny boy who cannot hold a basic conversation. I began to notice how reckless Eva’s driving was becoming, and started to get a little nervous. But hey, she can’t be that bad of a driver; she’s had her license for a year. I laid my head down against the window, trying to use the bumping of my cranium on the glass as a distraction from their bickering. I could feel their voices fading away, along with all my stress of the past year. Things were finally turning out okay, I thought. Nothing could stop us now. Boy, I was wrong. First was the sound of the car swerving, and then the crash; it felt as though a grenade exploded feet from us. Next I felt shards of glass pricking into my skin and my nose dripping blood from being crushed into the seat before me. I opened my eyes, and saw Eva’s car enveloped around a tree. I noticed her phone was lodged in the crack of the windshield; what was left of the windshield, at least. Reagan was limping out of the car in an attempt to call the police. Eva shook Gianna in an attempt to see if she was still conscious — nothing. The emergency vehicles came; they took us to the hospital. The rest of that night was a blur. Three days later, Gianna passed away after being in a coma. None of us could bring ourselves to do anything for the rest of the summer. Our senior year was filled with gloominess and guilt. Walking through the hallways, I could feel my peers’ eyes glaring into my back. Everyone knew what happened. They knew it was our fault; we could’ve stopped this. But we didn’t. A few minutes of some dumb guy’s time was worth our friend’s life. This can be prevented, though. Every day, eleven teenagers in the United States as a result of texting and driving (Snyder, Edgar). Every day, eleven teenagers’ lives could be saved by putting down the phone and keeping an eye on the road. Instead of allowing this to continue, we need to get the word out about the seriousness and devastation this simple everyday act can cause. Your life is more important than a three by six inch piece of plastic, metal, and glass. Don’t become a statistic. Survive your drive, and arrive alive.