The Cost

Quetzalli A

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How much does life mean to you—yours and the lives of others? At the moment you may think life means a lot to you. If it does, why do we choose to make mistakes that affect our lives and the lives of others? Because we’re intelligent beings, we should be able to avoid altogether making mistakes that affect life. My name is Luna; I’m 17, and I made a mistake. But there were so many things that I could have done to avoid what happened. My mistake was taking the life of someone through a car crash that was never supposed to happen. I truly never meant any harm. Nothing that happened was on my agenda. My worn-out old car was not nice to look at, but this car definitely got me from point A to point B. Today my car was going to get me from my house to the mall. Driving is simple: You start the car, put your hands on the wheel, put your foot on the gas pedal, stay in your lane, stop when you have to, never exceed the speed limit, and pay attention. Today was one of those days where I was unsuccessful in doing all I had to. Driving away from my home, I started to get hungry. So, I headed straight for a restaurant. I ordered a meal “to go” and decided to eat as I drove. Hey, I can multitask! Driving off, I got my phone connected to my car, got my music playlist ready, and raised the volume all the way up. I could hear my notifications going off and had to look at the latest updates in the teen world I live in. So, I put my food down and reached for my phone. Once it was in my grasp I quickly went through everything. I looked up and down from the road to my phone. I made sure I was paying attention to both things. With a hand on the wheel, my lap holding my sandwich, and my other hand holding my phone, I continued to drive. I looked away from the road for a split second and then an ear-splitting explosion of sound brought it all to a screeching halt. Everything froze. It was like I pushed the pause button for this movie called “My Life.” I heard screaming, only to realize it was my own. It wasn’t just screaming coming from my voice but from my whole body. My heart was racing faster than I ever thought it could go. Before I knew it I was crying. Through my tears I could see a bright red car had been destroyed. My weeping turned to sobbing. As I was sitting there trying to process what happened, I realized that I was so distracted I didn’t even see what lane I was in. With the food, the music, and my phone, I lost the complete concentration I needed to be driving. I am not worried about my car—only about the life I affected. I could have avoided my mistake. All I had to do was put my phone on silent and put it away, wait to eat, and play the music at a reasonable volume. All I had to do was get rid of everything that I knew would distract me. That is what we all have to do as drivers. Though it may be hard to get rid of all fascinating distractions, we need to remember that everything we do has the potential to affect someone else out there in life-changing ways.