The Backseat Passenger

Talia M

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I am your backseat passenger, the voice in the back of your head as you look away from the road. I am your backseat passenger, the morals and ethics you promised to keep. Tell me, what happened to that ‘No Distracted Driving’ sheet? I am your backseat passenger, assuming that lengthy text you type is more important than the life you’ve worked so hard for. Whether it be a message, a call, reaching to change the radio station, I have been through it all. A passenger in the backseat like me is helpless, at the mercy of the one behind the wheel. I cross your mind once, that nagging feeling of guilt that is so quickly brushed off. You take it for granted, having done this so many times before. Why now would it all go wrong? I am your backseat passenger, a cry for help that you will not hear. So many have been victims of people like you, and I cannot stop it. Our time together is coming to an end and you do not realize. As you ponder your next words in a text to that friend about the fight you two had last weekend, a car swerves ahead in a hasty move of self-preservation. The next car is not so quick. In the mirror I see your gaze finally flick back up to the road, text having been sent. Too late. The tires scream on the pavement. I am a backseat passenger, the embodiment of all the victims from all the people like you. Don’t risk other people’s lives. Turn the phone off, music down, distractions away. It can wait.