It started with my phone ringing, I remember. I was doing my homework, when my phone rang with my favorite song Staying Alive. I grabbed it, then saw the name Arin across the screen. I was confused as to why he was calling me so late; we had a test the next day, but those were his happy eyes in the contact picture. With a playful sigh I answered the call and lightly pressed the button to put him on speakerphone. “Johnny’s Pizza,” I had said, “where our Pizzas are fantabulous, may I take your order?” I heard a snort, followed by a small chortle. Arin was holding in laughter, saying, “Man, you know me so well, I could really go for pizza right now.” He groaned over the phone, prompting me to laugh. “We have our test tomorrow, in the class that you constantly complain about having bad grades in. Aren’t you supposed to be studying?” In a flat voice he responded, “Well, aren’t you a stick in the metaphorical mud.” I had a soft smile as I gazed over my math. “Is that so?” I asked in a teasing voice. I heard his replying smile as he teased back, “Yup, it is. Sorry about that!” I leaned back in my chair and stayed quiet for a moment, looking over to where my phone was. I asked him, “So, what are you doing then?” I heard his laugh through the phone. “Well, you see,” he said, “I got the munchies. So, I took my parents keys to grab a bite.” I started feeling it then, this pressure in my chest. It was small, so I pushed it aside and asked, “Do your parents know you’re out?” There was a small pause, and the feeling got heavier. “….Oops?” I sat up straight and yelled, “Arin!” “I know! I’m sorry okay? Here, I’ll text them now letting ‘em know I went out.” The pressure got larger, “Don’t message them while you’re driving, it’s really not safe…” “Yeah, yeah. I know, but I’m just sending them a quick-”…. There was a noise. A car horn, getting louder as he spoke and then a large BANG, cutting him off. I called out for my friend, “Arin? Is everything okay?” Silence was the response I received. “Arin, c’mon what’s going on?” I had leaned forward, and listened for any reply. Then, the room got cold, my heart aching. “Arin…?” Silence, that’s all there was. I couldn’t feel or hear anything. All I felt, was fear…. Then, a sound. A siren. It grew louder, and looking back at my phone— back to the screen with Arin’s hopeful, smiling face— I saw that I had been waiting 20 minutes, for something more than silence. I didn’t feel when my mom came to check on me. Didn’t hear when she asked me what was wrong, why I wasn’t responding. I didn’t feel when she pulled me close and held me tightly, whispering words lost to my mind… Didn’t feel the tears falling from my face as I wept softly… I came to, when the sirens were harshly ringing through the small, tinny speakers on my phone. I held my mom’s arm tightly, struggling to grab on to a coherent thought. I knew what the saying “heart on the floor” truly meant at that moment. Still holding me tightly, she reached across and ended the call. I felt numb, lost. We didn’t need voices telling us through the phone what we already knew. Arin was gone. I only wish that I made him hang-up instead.
One day, my phone went off while I was doing my homework. It was my friend who called me and when I got off the phone with them they told me later that day that they was almost in a car crash from being distracted on the road while I was on the phone with them. I began to think of what would have happened if they really were in a car collision and had died. This story is the representation of what not to do, a solution by speaking of the dangers of distraction that we have on our phones and of people.