Life in a Rear View Mirror
I look up. Time slows down. Drifting into the other lane without even noticing can be quite a conundrum, particularly when there’s an oncoming car just as shocked as I am. Everything is still in slow motion. I look at the wheel, snatching the faux-leather handle before I can even think about it. As I sit there, panicking, all of what I learned in my defensive driving courses leaving my mind in an instant. I look in to the rear view mirror. I remember my two friends in the backseat, their faces contorting in horror as they yell at me to turn the wheel. Time seems to freeze. Alan I had known since preschool, and though he was a bit of a jerk to me during that time in our lives, we worked out our differences in elementary school and had been friends ever since. We had attended all of the same schools, been on the tennis team together, even got our first jobs at the same place. I remember when he had gotten in to a different university than I had, and was going to attend there. It was the first time we would be separated from each other since we could remember. May was in the seat next to him. I hadn’t known her as long as Alan; we met our freshman year. I thought she was cute, and had a good sense of humor. My 14 year old self awkwardly decided to make a move, and got shot down. She never judged me for it though. We began talking again our sophomore year and had been close ever since. She had even helped me with other girl problems I had. She didn’t want to go to college though, and was going to shoot videos as a freelancer. May had even already gotten hired by a few local companies, and was doing a great job, and already making enough to live on her own. The temporal flow in the car begins to speed up again. I remember the conversation we had last week; I had gotten worried we would all lose touch, and I was shaken at the thought of losing those who I had been joined to the hip with for years. They talked me down, assuring me it wouldn’t happen. As we continue to accelerate through time, I suddenly jerk the wheel, barely scooting by the car that I almost hit. I realize that I almost lost all of that despite the promise, and that it would have been my fault. The two people I care about most gone in an instant, all because i decided to try and respond to a text while I was driving. I think of what I could have done differently; Turn on the driving mode on the phone so no notifications go through, I could’ve turned off my phone altogether, or given it to one of the other residents of my car. As I get berated by the two of my friends as we drive away from the scene, I make a silent vow to never endanger my life or the lives of others by using my phone while driving ever again.
A soon-to-be college student has a shocking realization as he drifts into the wrong lane after checking a text.