Monday, November 5, 2012

Bad Decisions and Lessons Learned

The boredom lengthened as the night stretched on. The house was quiet like a vacant building, and it left me sitting alone with my own thoughts. I could no longer handle the nagging voice of my conscience. A quick text was all it took to turn a boring summer night into an unforgettable memory.
            I could see the glare of the TV as I crept into the kitchen. I quietly poked my head into my parent’s room a little after eleven o’clock and asked to go spend the night with my friend. My dad was reluctant but an approval slowly rolled off his tongue. I felt the subtle sensation of a vibration in my back pocket as I reached inside and pulled out my cell phone. A new text message saying my ride was here reminded me, yet again, that I wasn’t old enough to drive. I hustled around, grabbed my things, and told my parents I loved them. As I was running out the door, I remember my dad telling me to not leave the house and I quote, “Nothing good happens after midnight.”
            There’s just something in a teenage girl's heart screaming to test the waters, though. I had a gypsy soul and a craving to learn from my own mistakes. Nearing the center of town, I had already come up with something to liven up the dull night. I felt accomplished when I shared my idea with my friend and the smile spread across her face. When another friend hopped into the back seat, the excitement was thick and contagious. Our mascara lined eyes were bright and anxious as the music became louder and the speed of the car increased.
            The Wal-mart bag with a carton of eggs hung awkwardly on my wrist, creating the annoying plastic screeching sound. We made the midnight trek to Adrian just to egg an ex-boyfriend's car. Not out of spite but boredom. The sweet revenge of gooey eggs sliding down his windshield was all it took to keep our blood pumping. We thought we were making a smart decision when the back seat passenger hopped into the driver’s seat. Pulling out of the parking lot, I felt an odd hollowness growing in my stomach. I knew my dad would be disappointed, but I was already in so deep. I pushed the annoying thought away and again joined the conversation. They strategized about the upcoming crime and I couldn’t help but get energized all over again.  
            Our destination soon changed. Why, I don’t quite know. The dark night was lit up as we drove through downtown Adrian. Ironically, it felt peaceful. No cars on the road to disturb our journey. Sitting uncomfortably, and more importantly illegally, I anticipated the next half hour of the night sitting upon the center console. It was awkward but more fun and allowed me to be the center of attention, literally. I didn’t want to miss anything. Going through the motions the my friend put her turn signal on, veered into the left hand turn lane and awaited the color change of the light. In the blink of an eye, she realized it was a no left turn lane, panicked, and instantly turned right. The only car on the vacant road happened to be in our path at that exact moment as we collided on the once peaceful summer evening.
I scrambled frantically to the back seat. A deep laugh started low in my stomach and came out loud. I made eye contact with my friend in the passenger seat and my laugh abruptly stopped. I could only wish to be a fly in the back seat, minding my own business but basking in the hilarity. It was so funny and terrible at the same time. A snapshot of this scene would have been priceless; two girls in tears while their best friend swallows her giggles in the back seat. We simultaneously hustled out and walked over to the other car. The guy was young, not from around here, and odd; very odd. Luckily, we talked him out of calling the cops, got his information, and went home.
Nearing my driveway, the regret knotted up in my stomach and the guilt tasted bitter on my tongue. As I quietly crept into my house, I saw my dad lying comfortably in bed, sedated by a deep sleep. I knew waking him would be the best decision, but I was extremely reluctant to whisper his name. He quickly rose out of bed and asked what I was doing. With as little detail as possible, I spoke the truth, my words filling the silent air. I finished and waited for a response, the passing time felt like centuries. He said one word, one word only. “Goodnight.” And with that, I swiveled on my heel and walked to my room, ashamed of my decisions, but more embarrassed that I had gotten caught.
I cried myself to sleep that night, the tears rolling down my face salty with regret. At the time, I thought my life was over. The damage to neither car was serious. The damage to our emotions was much larger. My dad never came out and said I was grounded but I was scared to ask to do anything so I basically grounded myself for a week. My friends, on the other hand, were not so lucky. They had to worry about the car damage and extremely unhappy parents, who grounded them for three weeks. I was then thankful I was only 15 and had no chance to own a car or a license to drive one. I guess every cloud has its silver lining. For the next week, I found myself again listening to my quiet house echo with my own thoughts. My conscience was no longer annoying with constant judgment, but soothed my body with relief. On these silent nights though, I appreciated the solitude and was thankful to be alone to reflect on my past decisions.
--Name withheld

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