Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Texting Dilemmas

Courtney felt her blood pressure rise as the white car in front of her, swerved over the yellow line.

 “I bet she’s texting. She’s looking down in her lap!” yelled Courtney as she gripped the wheel.
Courtney braked, as she approached a red light, keeping her distance from the car ahead. She thought of her 24 year old son Jared. She hoped his common sense prevented him from texting while driving.

The light turned green and the white car hightailed down the street. A stop sign loomed ahead and the white car did not slow down.  Courtney gasped and beeped her horn, but too late. The white car merged ahead, right through the stop sign, as a brand new Mercedes slammed into it.
Courtney quickly pulled over, praying everyone was okay. Her anger propelled her forward. She wanted to shake the driver of the white car for texting before the accident. She felt sorry for the innocent Mercedes driver who did nothing wrong. She planned to tell the police her observations.

The Mercedes driver  exited her car, slamming what was left of her door.  Courtney recognized her.  Everyone knew her.  Her name was Mabel, she was in her forties, lived near Courtney, and went to the same grocery store and dry cleaners. She was entitled and rude to the employees. Yesterday, Courtney witnessed Mabel  barge into the grocery store, yelling at the high school grocery clerk, “ You didn’t pack my onion! I couldn’t make my dinner without it!  I had to drive all the way back here because of your carelessness. You’ll never amount to anything, you ruined my day!”
The poor clerk’s face turned red as he stuttered, “I’m sorry.. I didn’t see them..”
“You pathetic idiot!” she yelled.

Regardless of how cruel Mabel could be, she was in the right. Courtney watched as Mabel glowered at the white car. The white car door opened and Courtney gasped as she saw the familiar reddish blonde hair, and petite frame. The driver was Emily, the sweetest girl you could ever meet, who happened to be dating her son. She ran over to make sure Emily was alright, while Mabel screamed, “How dare you?! This is a new car!”

Emily’s face filled with tears. She stammered, “ I’m so sorry,  it’s my fault, I shouldn’t have t--”

Courtney cut her off.  “Don’t say another word,” she whispered in Emily’s ear.  

Mabel shook her finger at Courtney.  “You were a witness, you saw her go through the stop sign. She was probably texting and---”

Sirens blasted and a police car approached.

Courtney looked up at the sky, and prayed for guidance. “What do I do? Tell the truth or protect Emily?” whispered Courtney.  

She wished she hadn’t shaved her legs this morning. If she hadn’t ,she would have left earlier and not be in this horrible predicament.  She remembered rubbing her hands over her legs and feeling a bushy growth of stubs. She was running late, but decided shaving was a good idea, since she was wearing capris. Those five minutes of shaving, that caused her to be in this exact place at this exact moment of time, may end up ruining her life. She wished she stayed hairy.

Mabel scooted to her car to get her license,  and Courtney whispered to Emily, “ Don’t say a word.”
When the police arrived,  Mabel pointed at Courtney and said, “She was behind her, she can vouch she went through the stop sign and was texting.”

Courtney hesitated. “Actually, I didn’t notice anything amiss…”

Mabel glared at her and yelled to the policeman, “Look at her phone, you’ll see she was texting! I saw her!  As she hit me, I saw her throw her phone down. She should be put away, have her license revoked, take---”

“Maam, let me do my job.”

Courtney whispered to Emily, “ Let’s switch phones.”  Courtney knew this was immoral, and illegal, but she felt temporarily possessed. This was the only girlfriend Jared had that Courtney approved of. The last one was a spoiled brat  who Courtney despised. When he brought home Emily, she was thrilled.

Courtney walked Emily to her car to get her license and registration, and when nobody was looking, they switched phones.  Emily whispered, “ You’re the best. I love you.”

Courtney felt proud and excited. She also knew she would have to change her dry cleaners and supermarket to avoid Mabel.

Emily handed the policeman Courtney’s phone. “Here you go sir.”

He scrolled through her recent texts and then returned it. “ Looks like no texting was involved.”

The police  headed over to Mabel. Courtney asked Emily, “Were you texting Jared?”

Emily put her head down and mumbled, “yes.”

Courtney watched from afar as Mabel was yelling at the policeman and pointing fingers at both Courtney and Emily.

Guilt crept through Courtney’s bones as she realized the ramifications of what she did. She could be arrested. She switched phones!  What was she thinking?

Emily’s car was not too damaged, so she was able to drive it home. Courtney was halfway home, when she realized she still had Emily’s phone. She finished her drive, parked her car, ran into her house, and opened up the phone to get Emily’s phone number. She wanted to call to meet to switch phones back, but a text caught her eye.

The text  Emily wrote before the accident. It wasn’t to Jared. It was to her friend Cindy. It said,  u r right bout Jared.  I can’t wait to break --

All the color disappeared from Courtney’s face.  The consequences of what she did hit her hard, like a rock being thrown into a window.

“She is breaking up with my son?  And I just did something illegal to save her life? What a moron I am!” yelled Courtney to her reflection in the mirror.

She kicked a chair, ran to her computer, and searched the internet for Emily’s address. She drove to her house, phone in hand. She slammed her car door shut and walked briskly to the front door. She banged on the door. No answer.  She sat on the stoop, contemplating what to do when she got a text. Actually Emily got a text, since it was her phone.  It was from her son!   Hey cutie, I’ll be there in 5 minutes. Luv u!

Courtney thought she was going to burst into tears. Her son was on his way. She scrambled back to her car and floored the gas. She thought of all her options. She could go to the police and confess, but risk getting arrested. Or she could have a heart to heart with her son and convince him that Emily is not the girl for him. What a disaster this was.

Once she was home, another text popped up from someone named David.  Hey , u want to hang latuh?

Hang latuh?  Seriously! Who was this David and had he ever taken an English class?  Courtney thought of what a despicable cheat Emily was. Courtney, pretending to be Emily, texted David back, No! Loser!  

Courtney put her head in her hands, and sobbed. After, what felt like hours, she started walking upstairs, when she heard the key in the door. And in walked Jared and a guilty looking Emily.

Jared ran to Courtney and gave her a hug, which surprised Courtney. “Thanks mom, Emily told me you saved her life today.”

Courtney glared at Emily.

Emily said, “ I still have your phone.”  She handed the phone to Courtney.  Courtney gave Emily her phone and said nothing.

Emily quickly scrolled through her texts, and then turned white. She must have seen Courtney’s reply to David, and knew that Courtney read her texts.

“Tell him,” said Courtney.

Emily bit her lip as she looked at her phone.

“Mom, what the?” asked Jared.

There was silence.

“I aided and abetted today, and for nothing!” cried Courtney.

Emily’s eyes darted back and forth as Jared said, “What are you talking about??”

“Tell him what you were doing Emily!” screamed Courtney.

“I know she was texting, mom!” yelled Jared.

“She was texting her friend----” screamed Courtney.

Emily cut her off. “ I was texting my friend Cindy. I already told him.”  

Emily stared at Courtney.  Courtney glanced at Jared, and saw a naivety and innocence about him that made her want to hug him, and not let him go. He was clearly in love with Emily, and was going to get hurt, but she had to bud out, and not meddle. But, she also did something illegal and needed to come clean.

“I’m going to the police station and tell them the truth. You know, Emily, the term that honesty is the best policy may be something you should practice.” Courtney threw on her coat,  and grabbed her car keys as she opened the door.

“Mom! What is wrong with you?” yelled Jared.

“No. She’s right. I shouldn’t have been texting while driving and I need to pay the consequences. I’ll go with you,” said Emily as she stumbled towards the door.

Courtney scowled at Emily and said with a burst of courage,” Why don’t you invite  David?”

Emily and Jared looked at each other and both frowned.

“Mom, I know you’re upset but what the heck does Emily’s brother have to do with this?” Jared looked as confused as ever.

Courtney stopped in her tracks.  “David is your brother?”

Emily responded, “ Yes, I saw you texted him back. Why did you call him a loser? “

Courtney stared at both Emily and Jared. She saw the love radiate between the two of them. She also observed the innocence of both.

Courtney swallowed and rubbed her clammy hands on her coat. “ Your text to Cindy. What were you---”
Jared cut her off with wide eyes.  “Geez mom!  You read her texts!?”

Courtney rubbed the nape of her neck, and Emily looked at her phone again.

Emily raised her eyebrows, as she said, “ Did you think I was breaking up with Jared and that David was my new boyfriend?”

Jared shook his head while massaging his temples as Courtney slumped her shoulders and looked down.

“ You did say break up and--” stammered Courtney.

Emily read the text out loud. “u r right bout Jared.  I can’t wait to break --”

There was silence and then Emily looked at Jared. “ Cindy is your biggest fan, and my bestie. I told her our secret. And I was going to write that I can’t wait to break the news to my mom and dad.”
Jared hugged Emily as Courtney started breathing heavy and held onto a chair.

“You mean, um, that , you guys are getting married? Oh my God, you’re so young and--.”  Courtney felt lightheaded and sat down.

Jared sighed. “Mom, we’re not getting married. Emily does this Habitat for Humanity every summer with her mom and dad. She asked me to go, I hesitated at first, but, she convinced me. I was gonna tell you tonight. ”

Emily chimed in with her eyes wide open, and used her hands to show her excitement. “ We’re going to Thailand this summer. I didn’t think Jared would go for it but, he did!  You raised a great son!”

Courtney stared at them both. She put her car keys down, removed her coat, and sat down on the couch. After she mumbled an apology and they both left, she got up, opened a bottle of wine, and wished this day to be over.