I wasn’t planning on going out Friday. I’d already ordered a pizza for me and my sister, and the movie was just starting. My sister’s only ten, and she still loves Cinderella. I, a seventeen year old high school senior hoping to major in feminist studies in the fall, much prefer the Princess and the Frog. I really do wish she was old enough so I could explain to her the importance of Disney’s first hardworking, savvy, black princess, but no matter. Back to Friday night. I’d gone out last weekend, it was fine- the party wasn’t as good as people were hyping it up to be. I figured this week it’d be better to stay home, and maybe next weekend would be a different story. I want to have some time with Sarah before I leave for Massachusetts this fall, and be more of a big sister than I was junior year. But I got that text from Lena, and she and I have been on thin ice lately. This drama went down with her ex Anthony and I guess I wasn’t playing the good friend I was supposed to be, and I don’t want to lose friends this late into senior year. There’s just no point. And the guy’s house didn’t look to be too far away, I looked it up on Maps and if I played my cards right, I could be back home before my parents. Just to go, have a drink, make an appearance. It’d be fine. Just fine. So I told her to pick me up, I’d be ready in ten, and in ten Lena’s out in my driveway and she’s disturbing the whole neighborhood by laying on her Chevy’s horn and I’m hugging Sarah goodbye and telling her I’ll be back soon. “Sam’s house is only ten minutes away, right?” I asked her as I put on my seatbelt. Lena shrugged and pulled out onto the street. I studied her- she smelled like pot, as usual. Her car was a mess, as usual. A sparkly headband there, Doc Martens thrown on the floor, a blanket with mysterious stains that I noticed only after I pulled it over my legs. Her car is always freezing. Lena, the dictionary definition of a nonchalant mess. I’m glad that hadn’t changed. Nothing was unusual, everything was fine. I sighed and fished her flask out from her center console and took a swig, making sure to keep it away from her until we got to Sam’s. We’re twenty minutes in, and I’m trying to extricate myself from a guy who’s getting too handsy when I decide to leave. I make the rounds, trying to find Lena so come Monday she won’t complain about me ditching her. As I walk out, I call for a car, and wait in the front. Then I call Sarah, and tell her that I’ll be home soon. Ten-ish minutes, is what I say. The car comes, and I hop into the backseat. The driver’s driving, the music’s playing, and I’m nodding my head along with the beat and watching the city lights go by. I can’t wait to get home. I want to eat pizza, it sounds delicious. I don’t really want to watch Cinderella, but I am craving the softness of my couch. I’m so deep in my thoughts, about pizza and warmth and soft, soft couch cushions, that I don’t notice when my driver picks up his phone as he’s headed towards the intersection. But I do notice the crash.
There’s a lot of stories in the news about the dangers of teen driving, and many people at my high school have gotten into car accidents. However, I do feel like there should be a spotlight also put onto the trust that needs to be put into a driver that partners with a company like Uber or Lyft. While these accidents are rare, they can indeed happen. This is why I wanted to write about a teenager who seemingly did all of the right things, but still ended up in a fatal car accident.