Lone Survivor

Teens and drinking—it’s not a new problem. This isn’t a problem that will go away in a generation or two. Underage drinking is a very real, very prevalent problem, one that will destroy young lives, just as it has in the past. No matter how much education our teenagers get from us as parents, from schools, from communities, or from the police, they will still experiment with alcohol. The aftereffects can be as simple as a horrendous hangover the next day or they can be far worse.

Carla got in a car with a drunk driver. Two other friends in that car were also drunk. She put on her seatbelt. They didn’t. The wreck on their way home left her the lone survivor. Even with a horrific injury, her memory won’t let her forget anything.

I turned down the beer. They didn’t. I ignored the scornful comments. They laughed. I buckled my seatbelt. They laughed louder and refused to use theirs.

“Get real, Carla,” Janie had shouted. “We’re teens. Nothing can hurt us.”

Her scornful words ripped through me now. Janie wasn’t around to tell me that I had been right and she’d been wrong. I wished she was. I wished the guys were with us too. Anything to stop the horrible feelings churning inside me.

They were my friends. Things like this don’t happen to friends.

Don’t they? Didn’t Daddy talk to me about drunk drivers? Didn’t he tell me never to get in a car with one? Oh, Daddy, I’m so sorry.