There were four of us in the car, including my cousin. I’m not sure why schools are obsessed with doing things in alphabetical order. I think my cousin would've been happy to escape me or at least avoid being stuck in a car with me as I learned to drive.
We’d gone up to Guthrie that morning. The three of us taking turns as the driving instructor, a laid back coach, sat in the passenger seat armed with clipboard and pen.
The day was almost over and I was last to drive, taking the stretch from Guthrie to Midwest City. The highway had moderate traffic, a mix of semi trucks and cars. I watched the speedometer, the needle held at a careful 60 miles an hour with hands at 10 and 2. The car was quiet; the radio turned low, just a murmur to keep the silence from being uncomfortable.
In front of me a semi truck rolled, white trailer blocking my view. To my left cars passed, one after another, speeding by in a stream that made my palms itch.
I shot a look at Coach, "Can I pass the truck?"
“Sure,” he said, glancing at the mirrors and turning in his seat to check the road behind us. “Just don’t go too fast.”
I waited for an opening, blinker on, foot easing down on the gas. I took the first opportunity and the speedometer began to climb. In the left lane I could see a line of five or six semi trucks. I’d have to pass them all.
I stopped watching the speedometer.
The trucks began to go by, getting passed by a car equipped with a break pedal on the passenger side and full of kids.
Coach started calling out my speed. It rose from 65 to 70. I checked the rear view, a car bearing down on me and still a few trucks to pass before I could get over into the right hand lane. I pressed the gas.
“Seventy five!” the coach’s voice rose.
“I’ll get over in a minute,” I said, knuckles white.
And from the backseat, “We’re all gonna die!”