INEXPERIENCED DRIVER: Erica, 17, Pennsylvania

I’m too short to drive
“Short” meaning my feet don’t reach the pedals
Meaning I can see just about as much as those stereotypical little old ladies can see
Over their dashboards
Emphasis on the “little.”
I’ve been driving for a while now and
Still can’t master it
Well, obviously I know red means “stop” and green means “go”
But my dad braves thunderstorms fearlessly
While with the slightest sprinkle my
Heart beats in rhythm with the swish-swish back and forth of the metronomic wipers
Calming myself with the idea that
God can’t afford to lose that much Heaven in one storm
Which, in retrospect seems childish, but
It gets me from point A to point B.

I fumble for speed
See my dad zips through the brainchild of William Penn at a steady forty-five
While I’m glued to the odometer
Like it holds the secret to life and
Balance and
Is thirty okay in a twenty-five zone?
My dad is the rebel who gets away without warning but
I live in constant fear of red and blue swirling through the night sky
Would you believe me if I told you I rehearse speeches I might need to recite to officers
When slash if I get caught?
They’re all terrible excuses and
In all honesty the cop probably would only focus on the question of
How a five-foot-one child can
Reach the pedals to operate
The biggest responsibility of her life?
I yearn for the day I can
Pull into my garage and not
Think of the drive as a battle
But like a journey.

I guess that feeling comes with experience.

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