February 02, 2015

The Civic Has Landed

I've worked here sixteen years, commuting the circumference of the Earth nine times, and counting. The highway travel is easy, until it isn't. The city is a bear though, full of other people – and other people are the worst. The roads out here are arrow-straight. Three turns only – day in, day out – that I can perform in my sleep. Right at the lights. Left at the barn. Right at the gate.

Zero incidents. OK, an asterisk: zero incidents as a driver. 

Fine. Another asterisk: zero that anyone else saw. 

One morning, wintry and slick, wind whipping snowy ghosts across the highway. The roads out here are arrow-straight, to a fault. I can sense the ice, but there's no reason to test it, to prove this theory. I turn onto the final run of road, the home stretch. I'm listening to the White Stripes' "Seven Nation Army," a boisterous treat for this day in the car on my own. I'm goin' to Wichita, far from this opera for evermore. Gaining speed. Fifty, sixty, seventy. Kilometers, Americans; I'm in a Civic, and am no maniac. A shift, maybe a hit of wind, and the car begins to turn. No, not turn. Slide. This is happening. And I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding, and I'm bleeding right before the Lord. Still moving, but sideways. I look at the ditch, brimming with snow. This won't be too bad. I correct. Too much. Sideways again, facing the opposite direction. This ditch looks worse. All the words are gonna bleed from me, and I will think no more. I correct the correction. Sideways, a third time, slowing down. If this fails it will be a soft landing, like the Eagle into the powder of the moon. The Civic has landed. But the wheels strike the gravel shoulder, a reprieve. I brake to a crawl, then a full stop. The stains coming from my blood tell me go back ho…

Shut the music off, and look back. No one in sight. I turn the radio back on, switch to the classical music station.

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