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Rite of Passage (The Drive)

Short story By: Brooke Marie
Young adult


This is short story about a rite of passage for every teenager: the driving test that will result in receiving their license.


Submitted:Mar 22, 2013    Reads: 301    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


I awoke to the sound of an alarm. With a groan, I rolled over in my bed to face my nightstand where my blaring iPhone lay. I turned it off and lay back in bed with a sigh.

Today was the day. The day I would take my road test and hopefully get my lisence. I had been practicing with my parents for months now, and I felt prepared and ready but still nervous at the same time. I had just woken up and already I had butterflies nervously fluttering in my stomach.

I finally got up out of bed and started to change out of my pajamas and get ready for the day. As I did this, I glanced out of the window. The sun was out and shining bright, making it a beautiful summer day. A perfect day for a nice drive, but I would definitely have to remember to bring my sunglasses to the test. Being blinded by the blazing sun probably would not make for a good driving situation.

What I noticed next was the gleam coming from the street. There, parked beside the curb and close to our mailbox, was my car. It was a pretty red, but older, Grand Prix. It wasn't in the best condition, but my parents had got a great deal on it and I wasn't complaining. It was a way to get around, and that was all I really needed. Between school, a demanding swim practice schedule, and my job at one of the local restaurants, I had a lot of places to be throughout the week. Not only was I happy to just have a way to get around, but I also was glad to help relieve my parents of constantly having to cart me everywhere. I knew that it wasn't easy for them, considering they both had busy jobs and weren't always in the mood to be driving all over the place after a long day of work.

Once I was done I walked downstairs to grab some breakfast. My mom was already sitting at the dining table, drinking coffee and flipping through a magazine.

"Good morning sunshine!" she greeted me with a smile, "Today's the big day! How are you feeling?"

"Alright," I shrugged, still not feeling fully awake yet. I grabbed cereal and milk and plopped down on a chair next to her, "I'm excited but kinda nervous at the same time. Ya know what I'm saying?"

"Oh, honey," she said, "You're going to do great! Trust me. You've been practicing so much with your dad and I, there's no way that you're not going to do well on this."

"I really really hope so!"

"Don't worry sweetie. You go ahead and eat your breakfast and I'll go get all your papers and stuff together," she got up from her chair, gave my shoulder a quick squeeze, and walked out of the kitchen.

"Thanks, Mommy!" I yelled out to her. I continued eating and cleaned up when I was done. I looked up at the clock above the stove; it was about time to get going.

"Ready to go?" my mom said as she entered the kitchen again, holding the folder containing all of my papers that the driving instructor would need.

"Yep. Let's go."

We walked out to my car and got in, double checking that everything was in order. When we confirmed that everything was in working order, we left to meet up with the driving instructor at the high school parking lot. My anxiety levels began to rise as we got near, but my excitement surpassed it. The parking lot was empty besides one parked car with a man standing next to it, and a few neon orange cones that formed a parking space. I pulled up next to the other car and my mother and I got out to greet him.

"Good morning," he said, "Are you here for your road test?"

"Yes," I said, "That's me." I let go of the breath that I had been holding out of pure nervousness.

"Okay, great! I just have to do a few checks on your car and then we can go ahead and get started on the parking portion of the test."

He proceeded to inspect the car, and I stood there, anxious to get started and get it over with, When he was done with that, he instructed me on what the parking test would be like, and I got into the car to get started. The first thing that I had to do was just drive into a parking spot, which was a piece of cake. Next was backing into the spot, which was a little more challenging in comparison, but still no problem.

After that was the parallel park, which had been a bit of an obstacle for me previously. I laughed to myself a little when I thought of the time I had accidentally ran over the cone during Segment 1 of training, and ended up getting the cone wedged under the car. The instructor had a tough time getting it dislodged and he told me I would need much more practice, and I followed that advice. Recalling the technique that was taught to me, I did my best with the parallel. It actually wasn't that bad, but I did have to readjust a couple of times, which I knew would cost me a couple of points off of my score. Once I was finished with the parallel park, I got out of the car to hear from the instructor how I had done.

"I think you already know that you messed up a little on that last one, but other than that you did a fine job. You have officially passed the parking part of the test."

Half of the battle was over; but now came the most nerve-wracking part of the test: the driving portion.

The driving instructor, my mother, and I all got into my car, and the instructor gave a basic summary of what we would be doing. I already knew most of it because my friends had told me where the drive would take us. This was a big help to me because I got a chance to drive through the route a few times before the actual test with my parents, and I was hoping that this practice would give me an advantage today.

When he was done I started the car and we were off. We got onto the highway and I was careful to maintain my speed and be noticeably checking my mirrors and doing head checks when I switched lanes. At first when we had left I was really anxious and had been gripping the wheel for dear life, but once we were on the road for a while I became more comfortable and started to calm down and relax into my normal driving habits.

Highway driving was a breeze, and we got off of a ramp and went through the downtown. This was to make sure that I could drive through a variety of situations and places. Throughout that time, the instructor asked me a few questions such as what to do in certain situations concerning bad weather or crashes. Luckily I was one of the few people that actually had studied the materials we had received during driver's training, and was able to answer every single question correctly and with confidence as well. We went through roundabouts, drove through thick traffic, and then began to drive back. At one point during the drive I almost made a big mistake by turning left at an unprotected light, but caught myself as a car went by right as I was about to turn. I knew that my instructor had noticed this because he wrote down something on his clipboard when this happened, but I hoped it wouldn't affect my score too much. Other than that instance, I felt like I had done a pretty good job.

The three of us returned to the parking lot of the high school, and I parked and turned the car off, turning in my seat to face my instructor.

"So," I asked, "How did I do?"

"I can tell you've been practicing. Besides one minor mistake, you had a great drive. Congratulations, you have passed your driving test."





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