5 minutes

Gillian S

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Driving down the road, my red car glittering in the sun. Talking to friends, singing at the top of our lungs, no care in the world. I had my whole future ahead of me. I was going to college, going to change my mind about a billion times on what I wanted to do in the future. But that was my favorite part, the future was a mystery to me. If only this one moment hadn’t been… Driving down the road, the wind pushing past my little white car. I had just gotten my license, feeling the freedom and excitement of what’s to come. There were so many possibilities that could speed my way. I was going to enjoy every moment. If only I had known I had five minutes left… Five minutes The three of us, all speeding through life in my red car. We felt untouchable. The car was our shield. It protected us from the worry and stress thrown at us. In the car we become free from the cares of the world. 4 minutes We all laughed as I whipped around a corner. “Your going to get us all killed,” my best friend had told me with a smile. The thrill in her eyes told me she was joking. We were all having too much fun to care. 3 minutes Each time I stepped into my red car I got excited. I was heading to my favorite restaurant for my friends birthday. We both have our birthday there every year. Two minutes “Are you almost here,” my friend asked over the bluetooth speaker in my car. “Yeah I’ll be there in a few minutes. I’m a couple streets away.” “Good. I have our normal table all ready.” I could tell she was excited. And if I being honest I couldn’t wait either. Each birthday means something new to look forward to. So much could happen in the next year. One minute “Hold on,” I yelled as I drove under a bridge. I bet you could see the red for miles. A colored blur, only visible for a split second. One minute Only a few more blocks to the restaurant. I wonder if she’ll get the same cake she always orders. Zero My red car, speeding down the streets. My friends all laughing at a picture on their phones. Myself, wanting to be included, looked back at backseat for one second to see what was so funny. I looked at the phone, laughter exploding from everyone. It wasn’t until I looked up and met my friends eyes, their light drained and replaced with terror as she stared past me, that I turned back to the road to see a pair of headlights. Everything had become blurry. I heard a distant car horn and screaming…and then the crash. Her friend had called the ambulance… it was her birthday. When the girl didn’t show up she knew something was wrong. I had read later in an article that the girl was sixteen. A couple years younger than me, on track to having a great life. Her life, her future, her family and friend’s future… all dissolved in five minutes. The five minutes she took to drive to a birthday dinner. The five minutes I took to recklessly drive around with friends, laughing at a screen when I should have been safely watching the road. My five minutes resulted in her death. The death of a girl who was following all the driving rules. The death of an innocent person. The death that is now on me.