The Numbers

Lucia F

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My alarm startles me awake. My feet hit the cold floor as I jump from the midst of my blankets, books scattering everywhere. There is this sinking feeling in my stomach as I check the time. Today is my algebra final, the one day that will make or break my school year, and I’m running late. I feel groggy; my mind is filled with the equations and integers that I had spent the whole night memorizing. As I hop into my rain-covered car, soaking wet, I think to myself, “This test is not that important. It is just numbers.”  My car jerks out of my driveway and slips onto the road. The soothing and familiar sound of the quietly rumbling engine reminds me of how exhausted I am. For a mere second, my eyelids waiver shut, and when I shake myself out of it, the clock on the dashboard shows that it is getting later and later. With my whole heart, I wish that those four digits would freeze or, better yet, turn backward. After all, they are just numbers. They don’t seem that important. The storm begins to worsen, and the windshield wipers frantically move back and forth, pushing sheets of rain off only to be replaced by more. With my vision partially obstructed, I have to squint to see the road, not mention the stampede of surrounding cars. As my eyes dart to the side to check the clock for the hundredth time, my phone starts ringing, and though I am sure it is just my friend calling, I lean over to see the caller ID. At this moment, I lose control of the wheel, and the car begins spinning across the road. I brake as hard as I can, and the car flips. That is the last thing I can remember before I woke up in the hospital. As my eyes open, a wave of gratitude hits me. 4,000 teens lose their lives every year in crashes, and 11 teens die every day in car collisions. I am so lucky to survive when others have not. The numbers do matter. Please drive safely.