Emma Mancilla

There’s a First Time for Everything

My wide, fearful eyes were fixated on the inside of my mother’s car as I tightly gripped the car’s dark gray door. The heated metal of the door was burning into my hand, and the blazing afternoon was adding sweat to the nervous perspiration that had already accumulated on every inch of my skin. I couldn’t understand why I was so nervous, considering I had driven multiple times before and knew I was good at it. Thoughts of my past successful driving experiences helped to calm me down, but the feeling that every organ in my body was evaporating did not subside. I took a deep breath and climbed into the driver’s seat. I closed the large, heavy door behind me, locking me into a necessary experience.

Although I had found myself behind this car’s wheel many times before, this time was different. This time, the chair felt like it was pushed all the way back, and even when I moved it as far up as I could, the tips of my toes barely grazed the tops of the pedals. This time, the strap of my seatbelt pressed into my neck, leaving a light pink mark. This time, I had to stretch every muscle in back just to peek over the steering wheel, that all of a sudden looked more like the tires of the car. This time, the deep black interior of the car appeared more intimidating; the buttons on the control panel looked like faces that frowned down at me, and the low hum of the engine sounded like the angry grumblings of a dragon. This time, my mother wasn’t sitting in the passenger side guiding me through the roads.

There were few times in my life where I have been entrusted with huge responsibilities, and now I was being thrown headfirst into the concept of navigating my own life. The second I pulled out of the driveway I would be expected to maneuver my way through the twists and turns life had to offer on my own.

Even though I knew this moment was coming, that did little to prepare me. I wasn’t ready for what was coming, but I pushed down my fear, straightened my back, and pulled out of the driveway.

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