I looked back at the list that held my new year's resolutions. I had done almost everything on the list except the last.
12. Learn to drive
I was 16 and still didn’t know how to drive a car. I had always been too afraid to ever learn how. Everyone had been pressuring me to learn and I always wanted to but I just didn’t have the time. There was so much going on throughout the year and it was about to come to an end in 13 hours.
I had time, 13 hours seemed like enough time but knowing me and my luck it would probably be too late to even start the car. I was still looking at my list when Riley walked in.
“Come on Le we gotta start the car”. My name was Leroy but I went by Le. Riley, my sister was willing to help me learn to drive. She was 17 and had a car so she was my best bet.
“I’ll be ready in a minute but first can we eat something I’m starving”.
“Yea but just hurry up we only have what like 12 hours or something before 2020 is over and you still need to learn to drive”.
“13 hours but that’s enough time we don’t have to rush”.
“Whatever but for real hurry up”. She said as she walked out of my room.
I put on a pair of light washed blue jeans and a white sweatshirt. Looking back at it now I probably should have worn a different color than white. I went outside to find Riley waiting for me in the passenger seat.
“I’m not driving your car”.
“Come on you’re gonna have to learn somehow”.
“Yea but not right now”.
“Just drive everything is gonna be fine”.
“Unless you want me to crash your car- “. I was cut off by the car door swinging open and Riley stepping out. She loved that car and wouldn’t ever let anyone crash it.
“Fine, I’ll drive”. I smiled as I got in the passenger seat and she walked around to the driver’s seat.
We made it to the small cafe that was about 15 minutes from the apartment complex. 12 hours left in 2020.
“What would you like to order, Le”. We were basically regulars at this store we came here practically every day.
“The usual and Riley would have here usual as well”.
“Alright that it’ll be done in about 20 minutes”.
My usual order had been a vanilla iced coffee with sugar cookies and a croissant. Riley’s order was similar but she got two croissants instead of one and no sugar cookies.
Our order came in about 30 minutes but I wasn’t complaining the longer I had to wait the better. We finished eating and went back to the car with our coffee. Riley started to drive to somewhere I had never been before she was taking me to a yard where I’m assuming she expected me to drive in.
I started to feel sick. I didn’t want to have to drive. What if I crash and we both die? What if I crash and we break all of our bones? What if I accidentally ran over something and killed it?
I was cut off mid-thought when Riley ran over a bump in the road causing my coffee to spill on my white sweatshirt.
“It’s fine we’re just gonna have to drive back home I guess”. Thank god but I really liked this shirt. Whatever as long as I didn’t have to drive.
“No way dude I can see the yard”.
“I refuse to drive with a dirty sweater on”.
“Lee”, she sounded angry but I still refused.
“I will crash your car on purpose”. That was all it took before she was driving back to the apartment. 11 hours left in 2020.
We made it back home, finally, it felt like she was driving for 5 hours. 10 hours left in 2020. I got redressed into a black sweatshirt this time learning from my past mistake. 9 hours left in 2020. Riley had to go to work she should be back in a couple of hours. While I waited my father urged me to take his car and learn to drive but I refused. He would have yelled at me for everything because I was always doing something wrong. Riley would do the same but she would at least help me fix it and do better. I trusted Riley for than my father with my life so I would be driving with her.
8 hours left.
5 hours left to go and Riley had made it back.
“You ready to go Le”.
“Yes, finally what took you so long”.
“Shut up and get in the car I’ll be waiting”. She smiled and I laughed as I made my way to her car.
There were 4 hours left in 2020 by the time we made it into the yard. 4 hours for me to get it together and muster up the courage to drive. I was getting anxious and Riley could sense it.
She looked at me as she said, “Everything is gonna be fine just breathe and relax”.
“Thanks, Ri I really needed to be reminded to breathe in oxygen and out carbon dioxide”.
“I was just tryna help jeez calm down”.
“No, you’re good just making fun”.
“Great now please get out of the passenger seat and into the driver’s seat you only have 3 hours left”.
“Fine”. Ri and I switched seats and as I placed my hands on the steering wheel all of my nerves resurfaced. It was like fire rising from the very bottom of my feet to the top of my skull leaving behind a familiar feeling of sickness.
“Yes, you can now press the gas and keep your foot on the brake”.
2 hours left.
“You don’t understand I really can’t”.
“Gas pedal put your foot on it and keep your eyes up”.
I did the car started to move. At least I was capable of moving the car that was a start. More time had passed and I did it. 1 hour left. I was doing it I was driving.
“I told you”.
“Look it’s 2021 and you did it”.
“I did it”.
We got home later that night and I was finally able to cross the last thing off my list.
12. Learn to drive