Upside Down World

Lauren P

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“Kara!! Pass the pretzels!” I exclaim as she takes them from my reach. I laugh, and soon the car is filled with our giggles. “I’m hungryyyy,” I whine, jokingly. “Sooo… close,” Kara teases, holding the bag just far enough from my outstretched hand. Looking in the rearview mirror, I find the bag of chips. Quickly turning around, I snatch them from her grasp, laughing. Suddenly all I hear is, “MIA!!!”   The tires screech and the horns blare, but it’s too late. The cars collide and all control is lost. I can’t see. I can’t scream. I can’t breathe. Glass is shattered everywhere, some scraping at my skin. My head throbs and my arm feels numb. The only thing I can see, as my eyes are fighting to stay open, is the upside down world.   “She had major impact to her head, but she’s a fighter,” a voice states. I find myself inside, tubes and machines all around me. “What about the other girls?” a voice cracks. I recognize it as my mom’s. “The other three… I’m sorry,” the voice returns, “they didn’t make it.” Silence fills the room, then a door clicks quietly and a gentle sob follows shortly after. What have I done?   That night, I lay in my bed, eyes wide open. My heart grasps for all that I lost, for all I threw away, just because I was hungry. Staring at the empty ceiling, I question, “How could I have been so ignorant?” It’s not like I was drunk or texting or doing anything bad. I just wanted some chips.    “If only Kara had just given me the chips!” I think, frustrated. My anger immediately turns into regret and I begin sobbing again. It’s not her fault. I was the irresponsible one behind the wheel. If only I had known. If only I had understood that there stands no difference between texting and grabbing a bag of chips. I think of all I am now, and all I could have been.   If only I could rewind. My friends and I would be graduating, pursuing college and our bright futures that we had worked so hard towards. We’d be looking forward to living off on our own, making wise decisions, exploring the depths and widths of the world, learning new cultures, and trying new things. We could be opening up our new business, being smart entrepreneurs and responsible adults. We could be making decisions left and right. Each decision impacting what we do and what we don’t, what we accomplish, and what we leave behind. Each decision would determine where we go in life. If only I had made the right decision.   My head spins and my heart stops. The sight of blood smeared across the seat and the broken window is scorched into my head. There are memories of our screams, of the colliding of metal, the sirens, the lights, the hospital. The words, “they didn’t make it” and the quiet tears of my mother are formed into my head. My life is now upside down.   If I had understood the sacrifice I was making; the sacrifice of a bag of chips for three lives. It’s no different than texting, blaring music, or speeding. If I had been responsible, if I had listened, then I could carry onto my bright future. Then, I could be me, and the world would be right side up.