Designated Driver
Designated Driver

Driving

She's been drinking and driving again, and it has become such a serious problem for her.

Driving
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The red lights are flashing when she pulls up to the four way stop.

"The grey Jeep goes first," she tells herself.

"He's got the right of way."

At the stop, she glances at the clock and then out of her window towards the outskirts of town.

The club closed down about a half hour ago, and in her mind she's trying to put bits and pieces of the night together.

All she sees for miles is total darkness, except for the few lights on still at 2:45 AM.

"I guess you can see what you want to," she thinks out loud.

She remembers dancing and talking with the other club goers; all just acquaintances, no one really a friend.

And she remembers hooking up with a guy, was it Frankie, Tommy... Jacky?

She just can't remember his name.

All that they shared were body fluids in the parking lot; no phone number with a name written down to double check.

Suddenly she feels trashy, cheap and dirty.

She's been drinking and driving again, and it has become such a serious problem for her.

She's crashed three times in the past two years.

No insurance company is willing to write her; the underwriters won't even consider her.

She's totalled the last three cars she's had, and she was drinking each time.

Her driver's license has been revoked.

She was informed about two months ago, in court, that it may never be reinstated.

The fines and all the penalties are beyond her means. It will take her years to pay them off.

But yet, she continues to drive.

She looks up at her dashboard all lit up like a Christmas tree. The clock now reads 2:51 AM.

She's exhausted.

"The safest car of the year," the magazine read. She laughed so loud she startled herself.

What a joke.

They shouldn't base those statistics on the vehicle but on the individual operating the vehicle; is her personal opinion.

No one asked for her opinion. There's no one that really cares.

Realizing that she's still sitting at the flashing light, she glances up and around to see that the Jeep has been waiting for her to go first.

The driver is now screaming profanities out of his window at her.

She drives on through the blinking light without looking directly at him.

He lays on his horn so loud he makes her jump in her seat.

"Damnit!" she hollers at the closed window.

"I did give him enough time to go, didn't I?" she asked herself.

In her rear view mirror she sees him violently shaking his fist.

"Ok, geez, what the fuck just happened? What the hell did I miss?"

She rubs her temples with one hand and grips the steering wheel with the other.

Struggling to keep her eyes opened, she tells herself just a couple more miles to go.

She fumbles for her pack of smokes in her big, black bag on the front seat, takes one out, and lights it.

She exhales deeply and thinks about the last couple of years and what she's gone through.

Near death collisions.

Not once nor twice, but three times, her impaired driving has put her in the hospital.

This filthy addiction has taken away everything she loved and has stripped her of her possessions and privileges.

But, yet she continues to drive.

She knows that she shouldn't be behind the wheel.

She makes it a few minutes out of town when twelve other things cross her mind.

"Thinking and driving should definitely be illegal," she tells herself.

Just like texting and driving.

And now she's daydreaming.

"Got to remember to set my alarm for work," she tells herself.

"Frankie, Johnny... Robbie...?"

Feeling the affects of the drinks she had earlier at the club her head starts buzzing.

"I don't think I should be driving right now," she mutters aloud.

"Definitely not."

Fatigue mixed with a couple of stiff vodka tonics makes it very difficult to focus on the road.

She catches herself yawning.

She plays with the radio finding a station she listens to regularly and turns it up, thinking a higher volume will help keep her alert.

With two hands on the steering wheel, she continues to drive on.

Her head feeling heavy, her eyes now fuzzy, she starts to doze off.

The wheel jerks and pulls the car to the left.

She pops right up, checking her mirrors, looking out of her windows.

She had this overwhelming feeling that if she didn't pull over soon someone was going to get hurt.

She pulls the car off to the side of the road, rolls down her window and takes a deep breath.

Turning off the radio and sitting straight up, she checks her seatbelt.

Her rearview mirror reflects lights of the vehicle coming up behind her.

"Please don't let it be the cops," she whispers.

The vehicle passes her up and it is a passenger van. She exhales not realizing she had been holding her breath.

With her turn signal on, she gets back on the road only to swerve again a few minutes later.

She slows down enough that she feels safer, but in the state that she's in, her perception is way off.

She tells herself that she has got to stop doing this, she's got to stop drinking and driving.

She knows that if she gets caught driving again or into another accident she's going to jail, or even worse she could crash again.

"Jail is not a place where I wanna be," she says out loud.

She turns the radio back on but fatigue is slowly starting to win, and her eyes feel heavy again.

Up in the distance she sees flashing tail lights; someone has pulled over.

Slowing down, approaching the vehicle, she recognizes it to be the passenger van that had passed her earlier.

The flashing lights cause her eyes to blink and she rubs them with the back of her hand.

Is that someone standing in the road?

At the same time her grip on the steering wheel lets loose and she drives smack into the rear end of the van.

Her chest hits the steering wheel and the car's safety bags deploy.

They bubble up and around her but unfortunately they fail to do what they were installed to do.

She dies on impact.

The driver of the van was jacking up his vehicle to change out the tire when he saw the car speeding towards him.

Taking precautionary measures, he quickly stepped to the other side of the road.

He wasn't sure if the driver had fallen asleep behind the wheel, so he was waving his arms and hollering, "Stop! Please, stop!"

He remembers seeing the same car on the side of the road just minutes before his tire was flat.

He thinks it was a woman that had been driving.

The impact from the collision sent him two feet in the air and on his back side.

Hearing the sirens blaring he stood up and dusted off his jeans.

Not seeing any movement from the car he walked over and started yelling for the lady.

No response told him that she must be unconscious, or worse, dead.

Fearing the latter, he waited for the police and the ambulance to arrive.

He told them what happened and how he had seen the car just minutes earlier.

The police officer pronounced the woman dead on arrival, and waited for the ambulance to check the young man out for any serious inquiries.

He watched the paramedics place the woman's body on the stretcher and cover her face. They loaded her into the ambulance and without siren left the scene.

He began crying, feeling like this had been mainly his fault.

The police officer saw this and walked over to console the man.

He explained that based on her prior convictions that the woman was probably drinking and driving, and that the toxicology report will most likely confirm his suspicions.

The police officer gave the man a ride home, which was just a few miles up the road.

They were both quiet on the way to his house.

Both of the men contemplating life and its tragedies, resolving to never drink and drive, neither one of them wanting to ever experience again what they did that night.

literature
Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice
Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice
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Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice

So please grant me peace from the demons I see. They crowd me and stalk me and won't let me be.

See all posts by Natalie Marie Stefani-Rice