I have always been in a rush. I sat on my living room couch and thought about always being the first one to finish a test and the first of my friends to graduate college. I glanced at the framed photo on the coffee table of me in my white graduation gown and my red, pink, and grey tassels. I smiled and remembered how at dinner that night my dad told me to slow down and enjoy life more because soon I will be too busy to appreciate the little things. I laughed because rushing is what helped me save him money on paying for another year and a half of college. The jangling of keys and the click of the front door handle shook me out of my reverie, and I stood up to see my parents shuffling inside. They didn’t say a word. It’s been three years since I’ve been gone, and they are still so quiet. I don’t blame them though, I blame myself. My mom sat at the kitchen island and my dad rummaged in the fridge as I started to make my way towards them. Halfway across the room I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Clothes savagely ripped and soaked dried blood, a giant deep gnash on my forehead, and missing pieces of my scalp where my long brown hair used to be. I still hear the screams and sobs of my mom the first time she saw me like this. I remember falling to my knees in front of her, trying to comfort her, and begging her to forgive me for picking up that phone in the car. I whispered how sorry I was for thinking I was invincible, that it wouldn’t happen to me. I should’ve known the second I touched my phone, I was already a dead woman. I should’ve just put it on silent when I drove, I should’ve gone the speed limit, I should’ve turned down my music, I should’ve told my friends to quiet down and stop yelling at each other. But… I didn’t. I kept my ringer on, I kept going 20 over the speed limit, I kept the music blaring, and I let my friends sing their favorite songs. I paid the ultimate price for it, and now I wish I would’ve never touched that phone, so I could have told my parents one last time how much I love them. Instead, I am cursed to watch them suffer and drown in grief every day while I’m left to my thoughts of what life would have been if I had realized what sending one text would cost me. I have always been in a rush, but now I have eternity.
This story is about the long-term impacts of distracted and reckless driving and how it influences family. It shows how changing one factor while driving can be the difference between life and death. We will have regrets, but what if one mistake cost us our life?