10: Driving

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Autumn pulls out her bucket list once again. She does her homework first, of course, so no one thinks anything is wrong. 

She glances back at number 13, the one about taking one picture a day for a year. She has a blue point-and-shoot camera, which she extracts from the drawer in her desk to examine. 

She hasn't used it in a while, so turns it on to check the battery life. It's nearly full. She snaps a picture of her bucket list. One down, 364 to go. 

Before her thoughts can ponder to numbers of days and dates and times, she distracts herself. She remembers that she's eligible to get her driver's license in just a month. That excites her; she can cross something off of her list in just a few weeks!


Deep breaths, she tells herself.

This is the day. She had done all of her training a while back, before all of this drama was in her life, but had always chickened out of taking the actual test. Now here she was, finally, taking the driving test to see if she was eligible for a license.

She had been up nearly the whole night studying the law, Adrian letting her practice with his car to brush up now and then.

She slid into the front seat and drummed her fingers against the steering wheel.

"Don't be nervous," says her instructor, "People fail all the time. So you won't be the first!"

Autumn closes her eyes and purses her lips. She follows all the instructions she is given, her nerves easing slightly each time the examinant tells her she did it correctly, but building every time she makes a mistake and the instructor gasps dramatically.

"Slow to a stop at the stop sign and turn left," she says. "Next, you will be reverse parking in a parking space."

Autumn does as she is told, driving slowly around the corner, the car lurching and stopping, lurching and stopping until she's around the corner, checking fifty times to make sure her blinker is on. She passes the parking space she's meant to park in, and puts the car in reverse. At first, she turns the wheel the wrong way, causing the examiner to gasp. Autumn feels chills running down her spine. She turns the wheel the other way and presses the gas, easing into the space.

Autumn exhales through her mouth, putting the car in park. She takes out the keys and waits for her results. Her palms are sweaty, but she tries not to let the instructor see.

"Here you are," she says finally, after jotting down a few notes. She hands Autumn a sheet of paper. "Congratulations."

She glances down at the page, seeing that she passed. She smiles and jumps out of the car.

Adrian looks at her, smiling. Autumn doesn't have to say a word for him to know the result.

"Let's go get that license!" he cheers, taking her hand and walking with her to the front desk. They take her picture and give her the card with her name on it. She can't stop smiling.

She pulls her camera from her back pocket and snaps a photo of it. So far, she'd taken one picture every day like she wanted to, this being day number 29. Adrian chuckles.

Adrian was confident enough that she would pass the test that he brought along her bucket list and a black marker for her to cross it off with. She grins when he hands it to her and crosses it off with one thick strike.

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