If Only

Jacqueline W

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If only I had listened to my parents. “Don’t drive distracted”, they always said. “Think of your life and the lives of others.” At that time, I had just rolled my eyes. I know how to drive, I thought sullenly, barely containing my annoyance. They never trusted me, always telling me ‘to do this’, and ‘to not do that’. I was tired of it. My parents and I got in a fight that night. A big one. I left the house in a stormy rage, got in my car, and drove away. Too angry with them and myself, I didn’t even notice when the speedometer went to 80. I didn’t notice how everything was blurry outside my window as I flew by, or how late it was. How dark it was. If only I hadn’t picked up my phone when I did. It was my parents, probably worried out of their minds for me, but all I could think about was how angry I was. So I answered, despite the fact that I knew I shouldn’t have. I really shouldn’t have. I only took my eyes off the road for a few seconds, but those seconds meant everything. Suddenly I was in the wrong lane, with a car coming towards me. I didn’t know what to do. There was a crash, and my vision went dark for a while. If only I had listened to my parents. They told me to not drive while distracted. If only I hadn’t been so angry with them and left the house. This situation never would’ve happened. Shame burns me almost as much as the gravel does against my ripped skin. Flashing lights meet my eyes, no sound but my labored breathing reaches me though. I made it out alive. But the other person didn’t. If only I hadn’t been reckless while driving. If only.