Holding the wheel in both hands she is confident and relaxed. Friend by her side, laughing, at the beginning of their road trip. The weather is grey and dull but quickly becomes unfriendly with a nasty bite. She feels a bit tense, but it doesn’t really bother her too much. Works well under pressure. They’re on their way.
The heat is cranked, music’s on. It is cold outside; sky over crowded with thick clouds, trees covered in spectacular white blankets. The wind attempts to bully cars to move one way and then another. Indecisive.
She should have paid more attention to the red flags waving frantically in front of her. She should have listened to everything that was yelling at her not to go.
The road is covered with patches of a dirty dangerous frosty substance. A combination of sand, ice and snow. Avoiding them at all costs, the wheels pass around, as the car travels over.
Turning the wheel ever so slightly, she feels the tires starting to loose it. The ice teases the wheels to change direction. The car jerks left, set to collide with the freeway guardrail and the center ditch.
Adjusting her grip she manages to gain control as the car appears to straighten out. But just for a moment. The wheels kiss the ice for a second time as it convinces the car to change direction once again. They hold on as the disastrous ride begins.
The car dances in traffic, like a ballerina gliding across the stage under a spot light. A 180 flows seamlessly into a glide across three lanes and finishes with a jump into the snowy embankment, balancing on two wheels if only for a microsecond.
They brace for the inevitable, bodies tense, minds not keeping up with the movement. She is silent, calm and starring straight ahead. Not prepared for this, but she cannot make it stop.
Over they go, a flawless 360. Seat hugging her tightly, she is stiff from head to toe. Glass shatters, plastic snaps then crumbles to pieces, metal bends and deforms. CDs float through the air, purses and keys take flight fleeing the vehicle and escaping the scene. All in the stillness of silence. Landing with great form, all 4 tires hidden in the snow. Reality smacks her in the face. Wake up!
Surrounded by snow, glass shards and blood. She is still calm, listening to screams of ‘oh god’ coming from beside her. A quick check to her right she realizes that she is ok but scared. She tries to regain focus on the situation, everything is foggy. Her mind takes control and tells her what to do reminding her that “everything happens for a reason, do what you need to do.”
Searching the wreckage for passports, her friend is led away and out of the cold. Still sitting there she turns off the car, and plows the snow off her body. She feels nothing, not even the cold.
“I can’t find it, I can’t find it, I need my passport.”
She moves around as witnesses suggest she should stop moving, she could be hurt. She ignores their pleas and continues to fuss about.
Drops of something land below her face. Is it coming from the roof? She asks what is it and a man replies.
“It’s you, you’re bleeding.”
She feels no pain, feels nothing at all.
“Is it serious”
“Well it’s not that bad”
and with that she hushes his speech and continues to paw through the glass with bare hands, searching for their belonging. Gathering her things and putting it all in her purse, she stands and finally SEES what has happened. It is then the severity of the incident is realized.
Loosing control over her body, she shakes. Every muscle, every joint moves in an erratic jerking. She can’t stop. Blood has now painted the left side of her face trailing down her neck and tangling her blond hair in a ferocious red. Drip, Drip. It’s not stopping.
Her minds not working right. Her thoughts are all jumbled. This just isn’t right. Tears roll from her face mix with blood and paint the snow red. As she walks away from the car, she is guided to safety. Wanting to escape from this, get in her car and drive home she cries aloud, nothings held back.
The next hour passes in slow motion. Her pants covered in snow and soaking wet, her shirt is damp, body covered in glass bits and pieces. They’re everywhere. She continues to shake. How did she get here, how did this happen.
As she is driven away she can’t help but think why she is alive. Replaying each moment in her head she bullies herself with all the coulda, shoulda, woulda, what if I… These words eat her up inside. She escapes anyway she can, still trying to figure out why. Trying to find meaning in catastrophe.