Quiet Drive by Anna Shurson ’19

Quiet Drive

It’s 12:33a.m. It’s pitch black outside. The sound of two fans on full speed and music posters rustling from the wind of the fans are the only things the girl can hear. Her eyes and lips are dried and swollen from crying. This is the fifth time this week she has been unable to fall asleep. This is the third day in a row she has felt constantly anxious. It didn’t matter where she was or who she was with… it was happening everywhere. The girl rolls onto her back and stares up at her Jimi Hendrix poster on her ceiling. There is one person she so desperately wants to call, someone she knows can help her, but decides not to. She rolls onto her side, staring at her messy bedroom floor. She’s tired of bothering the people she cares about most with these problems. The girl gets up to go to them bathroom, careful not to bump into anything. She reluctantly turns on the bathroom light to see herself in the mirror. She begins to fully examine herself. Her frizzy brown-green hair, her red face and red eyes, the rash that has begun to break out across her body from the anxiety and crying, but she focuses on her stomach, her damn stomach. She hates her stomach, the way it looks, she hates that she feels physically unable to eat anything without feeling sick. Everyone is telling her she’s losing too much weight and not eating enough, as if she didn’t already know this. It’s not like the girl doesn’t try to eat, because she does. Every single day. It’s not her fault that after a few bites of anything she feels sick to her stomach. It’s not like the girl asked for this to happen to her. She’s losing everyone in her life that she cares about because of her anxiety and the way she tries to hide it with anger but then turns right back around and apologizes to whoever she snapped at that day, almost as if she was pretending it didn’t happen. She starts to think about last year when she did that to her best friends. She was having a bad day and she didn’t want to talk about it and they kept pushing her and she snapped. She told them to leave her alone and to leave the subject alone and they did. They ditched her. They were kind of mean to her, but the girl figured she deserved that, after all she was the one to tell them to leave the subject alone. She feels like she needs to cry again, but holds it in. She thinks about how she is going to lose the people she loves most because she isn’t providing a healthy relationship for them to thrive and be happy. The girl shuts off the lights and goes back to her bed. The girl lays back down on her back, staring at Jimi Hendrix. The tears begin to pool in her eyes all over again. The girl flips onto her side and silently sobs, as not to wake up her brother or grandma, who sleep just down the hall.

It’s 6:34a.m. The girl flips over and realizes she missed her alarm, setting off the pit of anxiety in her stomach all over again. She rushes out of bed and gets ready in five minutes. She goes and sits downstairs to wait for her brother. It’s now 6:46a.m., and her brother is still not downstairs. She yells up the stairs for him and he slowly slumps down the stairs, taking his time. She wants to get out of the house now but she knows if she tells her brother to hurry up, he’ll just complain to their mother which will get the girl in trouble. She remains silent. They get out to her car. The air is brisk. The kids get into the car and they sit there in silence. The girl puts the key in the ignition and turns it to create the almost painful sputtering of her engine starting. The girl starts driving. Neither she nor her brother speak the entire way, but that’s pretty normal for them. Even when she rolls up to the front of the school, her brother doesn’t say anything, he just gets out of the car, grabs his stuff, slams the doors and leaves.

The girl takes a second to even out her breathing, then she pulls out of the school parking lot to go pick up her boyfriend. It’s about 7:10 a.m. now, and she knows he won’t be up yet, but that’s fine. She doesn’t really mind because while she waits for him to get ready, she gets the chance to get some extra shut eye in before having to really go to school. She starts to slowly drive through the neighborhood that’s right by the school. She could feel her heart rate going up each second she was driving, her breathing became heavier, almost like a panting. She begins to grip the steering wheel in her hands to prevent herself from shaking.   

By the time she got to his house, her anxiety had only gotten worse. She parked her car and turned the key and took it out of the ignition. She sat there for a minute, playing with a hair binder on her wrist. This was a new tick she picked up. She walked in through the unlocked back door, through his house to his room. The anxiety hadn’t gone down. She continued to play with the hair binder on her wrist while focusing on her breathing but it wasn’t helping. She sat down on the edge of his bed and pulled on his blanket. “It’s 7:20, you need to get up.” She said quietly, shaking his arm. He moaned and groaned a bit, but sat up and got ready. She laid down quietly, trying to rest for a few more minutes.

She feels her shoulders being shook. She quietly groans and curls up into a ball. She feels a kiss on her forehead and a quiet voice telling her it’s time to go. She sits up and for a moment she feels fine, okay for once. Just that ten minutes of shut eye made her feel so calm, so serene. She begins to stand up and it all hits her at once. The girl stopped in her tracks as her breathing increased, her hand flying to her wrist to grab her hair binder.

The boy turns around and just looks at her for a second. “Are you coming?”

Staring at the floor the girl nods her head and grabs her keys and wallet. They walk out the door together to her car and they get in. They end up sitting in silence just like the girl and her brother.