Daddy always told you to be a good girl, to listen to Mommy, to finish your supper
before you have a cookie, to brush your teeth before bed, to behave in the grocery store, to hold Mommy or Daddy’s hand when you cross the street, to stay close to Mommy and Daddy in
public, to never talk to strangers, to have fun on your first day of kindergarten, to ignore the
other kids that pick on you, to behave in school, to do your homework, to clean up after yourself, to look both ways when you cross the street, to do your chores, to make good choices, to study for your permit test, to wear your seatbelt, to not text and drive, to pay attention to your surroundings and turn your music down, to think about your future, to not try drugs, to not drink, to never drive under the influence, to call if you ever need help out of a bad situation.
But you don’t call. You don’t listen to Daddy’s advice. You’re drinking at a party and
don’t stop when you feel yourself getting tipsy. Call me, I won’t be mad. You don’t stop when
you fall over the rug that lays flat on the floor. It’s time to stop. You don’t refuse the shots the
boy from your chemistry class hands you even though he knows you’re already gone. Shot. Shot. Shot. Why are you doing this? You don’t listen to the voice of reason in your head telling you that you’ve had enough. You recognize that voice. It’s Daddy. You head outside, tripping down the stairs. Don’t get in that car. You know better. You sit in the driver’s seat of your Toyota and start the engine. Honey, please get out of the car.
That night when you ran a red light, you crashed into another vehicle. That crash resulted
in the loss of one precious life. But don’t worry; the doctors say you will be fine. A mother and
her 2-year-old daughter were in the other car. Daddy won’t ever get to tell that little girl to have a good first day at kindergarten or to never drink and drive. She will never get the chance to make the right choice, all because you made the wrong one.
You’re staring at yourself in the hospital bed now. Your body is lying battered and
bruised on the bed. Your eyes are swollen, and your neck is in a brace. There is crusty blood
covering the yellow top you were wearing that night. Dang, that was your favorite shirt. Your
fingers are swollen on your right hand from the blow of the accident. Blood is seeping through
the patches that cover the stitches on your chin and forehead. Your daddy is sitting by your
bedside. Tears stream down his face as he holds your hand and whispers to you.
Why did you do this? We had this talk. I thought I taught you better than this. How did I go wrong? God, I love you so much. I never should have let you go to that party. I’m sorry I didn’t do more. I will never forgive myself. This is all my fault. He breaks out in uncontrollable sobs as he drops your hand back onto the hospital bed.
You try to reach out to him, but you can’t move your body. You know it’s not his fault.
You know he did everything right. You just didn’t listen. Why didn’t you just listen? Now you’re
going to pay the price. Vehicular homicide. That’s what the policeman called it. Your mommy
and daddy fall to their knees outside of your hospital room. You’ve never seen them so upset.
They are too distraught to even answer the officer when he asks if they understand. You understand.
I hope the 7 years in prison that you’re facing was worth the “Lol :).”
Callie Stouffer is an English major. She says of her work, “‘Daddy Said’ is something I
wrote for my English class my first semester . I think making the reader a huge part of the
piece allows the reader to see the effects of texting and driving.”