The Value of Two Lives | Teen Ink

The Value of Two Lives

February 6, 2010
By kread18 DIAMOND, Berkeley, California
kread18 DIAMOND, Berkeley, California
65 articles 0 photos 33 comments

“B******” I muttered as I slammed the breaks and watched a red Camry cut me off. The driver would not have been able to see my middle finger through the thick rain, so I didn’t even bother to roll the window down. I heard a distinct “plink” cut through the drone of the cold dump hitting the roof of my car, and a stone in the gravel kicked up by the Camry crashed into my windshield. I watched a web of cracks spread from the spot like a drop of blood, and slowed instantly to a crawl, banging my hand against the horn and writhing internally with frustration. The Camry drove on.

I crossed this same bridge every day. The irony of being stuck on it now, while the front window of my car slowly broke apart, struck me as hilarious. It’s not like I actually want to go home, I thought. The idea of the cold shell of a house never welcomed me, and most nights I fell asleep on my single bed, too exhausted and bored to even make dinner.

The cars zooming past my piece of s*** car that was stuck on a bridge without much of a shoulder brought me back. My head snapped up, and my gaze instantly fell upon something in the distance, holding onto the edge of the bridge’s railing. My heart skipped a beat. “Don’t jump!” I screamed through the roar of the pounding rain as I slammed the door of my car and began running toward the woman. She turned to me, her black hair matted against her face, her tears mixing with the rain, and placed a hand on her protruding stomach. Her shaking lips parted to speak, but nothing could be heard over the noise. Her hand left the railing, her feel left the ground, and she had every intention of being gone. But just in time, her shaking, delicate hand was caught in mine. All I had was a blank, impassive feeling, until I looked back at her other hand, still resting on her stomach. I hadn’t spared this woman’s misery, but I had spared two lives.

She named her daughter Hope. That’s the only time she ever talked to me again, to tell me about her beautiful baby girl. She told me she didn’t have anyone to go home to either; she was only sixteen, and the baby had no daddy worth mentioning. The day she called me up and I answered after three rings and she told me in a smooth voice that she was going to make life beautiful for her girl, I silently thanked that red Camry and the stone that broke my windshield.

The author's comments:
written for AP English 12 during a short story assignment.

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This article has 1 comment.

on Jul. 8 2010 at 8:37 am
MeganAnne PLATINUM, Niskayuna, New York
24 articles 0 photos 157 comments

Favorite Quote:
All my life I've looked at words as if I were seeing them for the first time. ~Ernest Hemingway

This was really good! I liked how you made the story lead to such a point. I love this!