A (Broken) Promise
Look at that smile…she’s everything I have ever prayed for. I still can’t believe I get to call her mine. I extend my hand open, and she gleefully clasps her hand around mine. As she sings along to the radio, I get lost in the moment. I look over to the passenger side, and she’s doing that silly little dance again. She sure knows how to be adorable, doesn’t she? Before I know it, the song is over. The dancing stops, and she complains about the ads as they come over the station. I see my chance, and pull out my phone to put that song back on. I see my chance, and I blow it. Flashback to 15 minutes ago, when we were eating supper with her family. After conversation and cards, it was time to say goodbye. We both tell her mom, in unison, that, “we’ll see you later!” Her mom always has the same response to that. At this point, she habitually instructs, “now you kids be sure to take care of yourselves! Oh, and drive safe.” As usual, I reply, “Will do, promise!” I promise. I promise to take your daughter back to college safely. I promise to come back with her for supper again next week. I promise. I promise to drive safe. I promise! Except this time, I broke the promise. This time, I won’t get her back to school safely. This time? Well, this time is the last time we have supper at your place. Because this time, I broke the promise. As I look over at her, thankful for her being in my life, I break the promise. As I go to scroll through my list of songs, ready to find the one she loves, I break the promise. As I click play, and start to turn up the volume, I break the promise. You see, when I took my phone out, I was on the wrong playlist. I had to swipe out of those songs, and I had to search for the song that makes her dance. I never realized just how long that takes, and certainly never realized just how far you can go at in 10 seconds when going 50mph. I felt the bump, and I felt her desperately grabbing my arm. I heard the start of the song, and I heard her scream. I saw the ditch, and finally, I saw the end. I made a promise, the same promise I’ve made so many times before. But, this time, I broke the promise. To the reader: from this point forward, keep the promise. Have the passenger change the music. Create your playlist in advance. Listen to the ads. At the very least, wait until you are stopped to change the music. Whatever you choose to do, choose to keep the promise.
This is a partially true story, but there was no crash. I caught myself before it got to that point, but only because I heard, “uhhh, hey, hey, HEY! PAY ATTENTION to the road!” This is a tragic “what-if” to that scenario.