Rain drops, grey clouds and naked trees appeared like black ballerinas on both sides of the road ready to perform the final scene from The Phantom of the Opera. The lean branches were holding a permanent beautiful stance against the elements. The wind blew against their limbs and yet they still stood tall, looking more radiant. In some wicked way, it was the only beauty found on that dull winter’s day because the rain drops weren’t quite whole drops, they were more like tiny specks of water, just enough to be maddening, but not quite enough to warrant an umbrella.
Angela shook her head as she argued internally. ‘Why won’t Mother Nature make a decision? Just Rain! Let the floodgates open or not, but just decide. This in-between-state is nerve racking!” It was another day, which lead to another night pledged with more indecisiveness.
She slammed her hands against the steering wheel as if this justified her argument with Mother Nature. She was still forty minutes away from another sales call that would generate pleasantries and no purchase order. Angela felt useless in this cycle. For the past two years there had been an endless loop of meetings, phone conferences, emails and expense dinners. There was so much interest in her products everybody wanted to talk about it, but no one wanted to buy it. There were just pleasantries and words of encouragement with the future intent to buy.
Angela caught herself auguring with Mother Nature, but the truth be told, she was pissed with this process. She’d spent two years into a four-year project of launching a new product that everyone believed in, but no one had the money to buy. To add insult the company wasn’t on a four-year plan, they wanted the revenue today.
“It’s the little things in life. It’s always the little things that get under your skin. I’m not sure who I’m more disgusted with….myself or this job.” Angela said in the confines of her car, where no one could hear but the Good Lord and her old faithful steering wheel that caught the majority of the outbursts. She wanted to quit so badly, but her heart wouldn’t let her because in the end Angela was no quitter. But she swore that any given day it was a flip of the coin and she was done.
The windshield wipers came on. Finally there was enough rain built-up on window. The computer had made a decision and action had been taken; two wipes, back and forth.
If only life were that easy. If only the weight of a situation or final words of a discussion would warrant an action. A simple action, a Yes or a No, a forward step, a back step, a step left or to the right anything that looked like an action.
No, life was not like that. There were “buts,” “ums,” and “wells,” never ever a decision on the horizon and definitely no actions taken.
Out of corner of her eye near the edge of the road, she caught a glimpse of a shadow that came to a sudden stop. At 75 miles per/hr. she knew it was too low to the ground to be a person and it was dusk. Who would be out on the turnpike walking? Yet she knew it was not a deer. Angela’s mind started flipping through her metal card catalog trying to identify the creature. ‘Is it a deer? Has the hunting season caused him to come close the road?’
A single thought catapulted to the front when she saw movement again, ‘Don’t sprint out into the road.’ She was driving too fast to hit the brakes. That fine mist mixed with the normal wear and tear of her tires with the occasional oil spills found on the highway would make for a bad outcome for either her or the creature.
Yet as she got closer, her card catalog brain settled on an image as her eyes confirmed and both declared it at the same time it to be a large silver wolf.
“Holy crap. It’s a Huge-behind-Wolf” Her words must have been magic because the beast started to dart out in front of the car. Angela screamed “No,” and hit her brakes. The front wheel drive locked and triggered the backend to swing forward. She initiated a tailspin her fears were becoming truths.
The beast was in full stride narrowly escaping the backend of the car as it swung forward. The wolf was by the driver’s side door and their eyes met with the same expression, asking ‘Why’
Angela asking, “Why did you dart into the highway?”
Wolf asking, “Why did you hit the brakes?”
In an instant, the moment was gone and G forces were pulling Angela in four directions and still spinning her Mercedes in another 360 tailspin and the wolf was off safely in the median.
Suspense continued to rise as her deadly ride spun out of control. When she was able to make any sense of the situation or have a clear thought she saw a cement pole coming up quickly to her windshield. She braced for impact and closed her eyes. One Mississippi, Two Mississippi…And no impact.
Angela peeked through her eyelids just in time for the impact, but couldn’t see a thing other than white stars and then grey skies. She released the steering wheel to protect her face. She no longer had control, potential and kinetic laws of energy had the wheel. They were laws of physics, which stated he who had the densest mass, won. Her car lost and her vehicle was no longer doing backward tailspins, it switched rides on impact to being airborne. She was flipping upside down.
Odd images always come to mind before death, Angela thought of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean. She couldn’t remember whether it the first or the second movie, but it was the scene when the crew traveled to the ends of the earth and at the moment of sunset the world turned upside down. What was up was now down.
Seat belts were not meant to stop people from sliding upside down. She came to abrupt halt. White shearing pain rang from both ears. She didn’t know if it was from all of her screaming and cursing or from the crash. It was too much to comprehend and too intense to continue to embrace. On her last breath she passed out.
Photo credits Flickr Creative Commons