Wednesday, 04 August 2010
There's a bend in the road that only experienced drivers accelerate through because they've been around it time and time again. It's a backwoods road surrounded by densely populated trees and late at night even the moon has trouble peering through the leaves. On a rainy night a young woman dressed in an ankle-length ivory nightgown went out to the curved road. Her tender pink feet picked over the surface of the paved road, dodging pebbles and thorns her eyes couldn't pick up through the thickness of the night all around her. She stood in the middle of the road listening to the rain kiss the leaves as crickets chirrup and buzz like an orchestra. Her brunette hair hangs damp around her face as she stands in the middle of the road with her arms stretched out to her sides at right angles, the palms turned up to the sky in offering, accepting the kisses of the raindrops.
An unfamiliar Jeep eats up the pavement of the old road while the driver taps along on the steering wheel to the beat of a popular song blaring over the radio. The driver, with his foot pressing down on the accelerator, doesn't slow down as the road begins to curve gradually to the left. The bank is sharper than the driver realizes but he re-adjusts without ever taking his foot off the accelerator.
She raises her head enough to watch the headlights illuminate the shadows between the trees in front of her. She waits with bated breath for the light to find her like a child playing hide-and-seek. As the headlights fall upon the woman in her white nightgown the driver has a single moment to notice what's standing in the road only five feet from the grill of his vehicle and react to it. In retrospect he will tell himself over and over again that he reacted as fast as he could but in the back of his mind a voice will always whisper otherwise. In a single second the driver has time to ponder the woman's motive for standing in the middle of the road before his right foot moves from the accelerator to the brake, a mistake he will regret for the rest of his life.
He slams on the brakes and the wheels lock. The Jeep hydroplanes as the wheels turn helplessly against the thin sheet of liquid covering the surface of the road. He grips the steering wheel so hard his knuckles turn white and a scream rips from his chest that drowns out the sound of the pop song still blaring from the radio. She can't hear him scream and it wouldn't make a difference if she had but he screams anyway, he's helpless not to.
She watches the blinding light and the chrome grill race towards her and she holds her arms out to it like a lover. She smiles as she embraces the grill and hood and whispers a single word before all the air is punched out the back of her lungs: freedom.