A father’s worse nightmare. Teaching his daughter how to drive.
You Drive Me Crazy
Grace Clark quickly turns her steering wheel to the left. Sending her car into the oncoming lane. Then she goes onto the curb on this side of the street. She travels along this curb erratically for about a hundred feet before her father, Warren Clark, grabs the steering wheel.
Warren turns them to the right to get them back into their lane. “What are you doing? Are you trying to get us both killed?”
“You maybe,” answers me. “But not me.”
“It’s all your fault,” continues Grace. “You scared me when you yelled at me.”
Warren looks at Grace. “That wasn’t yelling,” He raises his voice a lot. “This is yelling.”
“Pull over,” says Warren after he takes a deep breath and lets it out slowly to calm himself down. “Your driving lessons are done for today.”
“I hate you,” shouts Grace repeatedly as she enters and head for the stairs leading up to the second floor of their house. Warren enters right behind her.
Melissa Clark watches as her husband, Warren, starts to go upstairs too. Then he must have changed his mind because he goes into the living room instead. He sits down in the recliner next to Melissa. “I give up trying to teach your daughter how to drive.”
“Why is she always my daughter when she does something wrong?” Melissa asks. “What has she done wrong this time?”
“She doesn’t want to listen to me,” answers Warren. “And I’m tired of trying to do it.”
Warren looks up at their second floor. “Grace only has two weeks before she is sixteen. I know she wants to get her driver’s license when she turns sixteen. But I don’t think she’s going to be able to do it.”
“Why are you having so many problems learning to drive from your father?” Melissa asks as she sits on the bed where her daughter is lying face down crying into her pillow.
Grace Looks at her mother with tears in her eyes and running down her cheeks. “I’m not the one with the problems. It’s him. And we both know why he’s acting like this.”
“I’m his little girl,” continues Grace. “And I always will be no matter how old that I get. Me getting my driver’s license only reminds him I’m not a little girl anymore.”
As Grace starts to get up to sit next to her mother, Melissa takes some tissues out of her pocket and begins whipping the tears from her eyes and cheeks. “It’s not that he doesn’t want you to grow up. He just doesn’t want you to get a driver’s license. Until you’re ready to drive. And he doesn’t think that you are yet.”
Melissa pours some popped microwave popcorn into a bowl on the table between the two recliners. She sits down in the empty one and starts watching what is on the television in front of them. “We need to talk about Grace,” she says after a few minutes.
“What is there to talk about,” replies Warren. “I’m not going to teach her to drive anymore.”
“I know you’re not,” says Melissa. “But if it’s not you, then who will do it? She is going to try to get her license whether you teach her or not. Wouldn’t it be better if you taught her how to drive before she does that?”
Warren pauses what they are watching on their TV. Then he turns toward Melissa. “I’m not going to teach her. If she wants to try to do it on her own, that’s up to her.”
“What is wrong with you,” shout Melissa slightly. She looks up at the second floor of their house. Melissa lowers her voice a little. “Grace is your daughter. You know she is going to fail her driver’s test if you don’t teach her.”
“Do you want the same thing to happen to Grace that happened to our eldest daughter Victoria?” Melissa asks.
Melissa gets into the passenger seat next to Grace in the family car. “If your father won’t teach you to drive, I will do it.”
“No offense mom,” says Grace. “But I don’t want you to help me.”
Just then, Warren Starts pounding on the passenger car window. “I know what you are going to do. And I’m not going to let you do it.”
“You are an even worse driver than Grace is,” says Warren. “If I let you teach her to drive, you will probably both end up getting killed.”
Melissa rolls down her window. “You don’t want to teach her. And she needs to be taught. If you won’t teach her, I will do it.”
“I know what you are trying to do,” says Warren. “And it’s not going to happen this time either.
“You think that I’m going to take back her learning to drive to stop you from getting you both killed by you doing it,” says Warren. “That isn’t going to happen.”
Grace gets out of the family car and storms up to their house. She is obviously upset about what is happening to her. “I hate both of you,” repeatedly shouts Grace as she enters the family house.
Warren and Melissa continue yelling at each other while they walk toward their house too. “See what you have done,” says Melissa.
"I haven’t done anything,” replies Warren. “You are the one who has tried to trick me into teaching our daughter how to drive.”
Melissa enters their house first. “I didn’t try to trick you. All I tried to do was to get you to help our daughter learn to drive.”
"There is someone else who can teach Grace to drive,” continues Melissa. “But you don’t want to do it. It’s your right to teach your children to drive.”
Grace suddenly appeared in the large open entrance into the living room. “What a second. Did I hear you correctly? Is there someone else besides the two of you two that can teach me to drive?”
“I know that there are several Driving Schools in Texas City,” says Grace. “But you said that we can’t afford for me to go to one of them. Was that just another lie because you wanted to teach me how to drive?”
“It wasn’t a lie,” answers Melissa. “We can’t afford one of the Driving Schools here. But we do know someone who can do it for free.”
Grace looks at her mother sitting on her bed next to her with a shocked look on her face. “I don’t understand. If there is someone else who can teach me to drive for free, why haven’t they been helping me?”
“Because your father hates my father,” answers Melissa. “You could have stayed with your grandfather this summer. And he would have helped you to get your driver’s license. But your father said no.”
“I knew that they hated each other. But I didn’t know it was that bad,” says Grace as she starts forming a big smile. “Maybe I can still get my driver’s license by my birthday after all.”
Bradley Weston walks into the living room with his right arm around Grace’s shoulders. Before they can do or say anything Warren and Melissa confront them. “Father, it is only a couple of days before she turns sixteen. Is she ready to get her driver’s license?” Melissa asks.
"It would have been a lot better if I didn’t have only a week to teach her,” answers Bradley. “But overall, I think that she’s ready to try to do it.”
“The biggest problem that she has been having is with parallel parking,” continues Bradley. “But almost everyone has a problem with that. If I had been teaching her another few weeks, even that wouldn’t be a problem.”
Grace smiles. “I told you I’m going to get my driver’s license on my birthday.”
“I didn’t say that you would get it on your birthday,” says Bradley. “All I said was that you could try to do it.”
“Yes, I know what you have been saying,” says Grace. “Here, and what you have been teaching me. But I also think that I can get my driver’s license in a couple of days.”
Warren paces around their living room. Melissa can’t stand watching him do it anymore from her recliner. “Would you stop doing that?”
“Something must be wrong,” says Warren as he continues his pacing. “Grace should have been back here by now from her driving test.”
“Grace hasn’t been gone that long,” says Melissa. “There are a lot of reasons why she isn’t back yet. Like the number of others who are there trying to get their driving licenses too.”
Just then Grace enters. The look on her face says that she hasn’t been able to get her driver’s license. “I know that I have been hard on you when it comes to your driving lessons for the last six months. But I am sorry that you didn’t get your license today.”
Suddenly her sadness changes to a very big smile. “Who says that I didn’t get my driver’s license today,” says Grace. Grace takes her new license out of her pocket and shows it to her mother and father.
Grace reaches her hand out to get the keys to their family car. Once she gets them from her reluctant father, she gets in their car. She buckles up before she pulls out of their driveway and starts driving down her street. Her parents are almost back inside their house when they hear a large crashing sound.
Warren and Melissa start running down their street in the direction of this crashing sound. Suddenly, they stop. Their bulging eyes and dropped jaws say they are shocked at what they are looking at. The family car is starting to slide down a large tree that it has crashed into as Warren and Melissa start running toward the driver’s side of it.
After getting to their car, Warren and Melissa look in to see if Grace is okay. She is draped over the deflated airbag and steering wheel. And she does look too well. But after looking at her for a few seconds they can see that she’s still breathing. It just isn’t very fast.
“Are you okay?” Warren asks after Grace starts coming around about a minute later. “What happened?”
“I’m going to be okay,” answers Grace incoherently. “Another cat got in my way again. Only I couldn’t go into the other lane this time.”
Word Count = 1,748