After Church

Hands clenched to the wheel, I drove home from church, worrying as
the clear portion of the windshield grew smaller and smaller. I
estimated the visibility, the distance between me and the car I thought
I saw ahead, before realizing I saw only a darkening swirl of icy snow.
Behind me, the closest car kept a reassuring distance, and I breathed
more easily.

Suddenly, I could see many cars ahead of me, on both
sides of the road, and I slowed, thanking my lucky stars for anti-lock
brakes that seemed to be working. I tried to assess the situation. None
of these cars seemed to have collided; two rested on the shoulder, two
others in the valley of the median. People stood around, one man
attempting to cross the highway.

I continued at a crawl, afraid
to stop and be hit from behind as the car recently in the distance grew
closer, also afraid of hitting the cars proceeding deliberately ahead
of me. I navigated around the stopped cars and thought about calling
911 until I saw a police cruiser on the other side of the highway,
speeding north with lights flashing.

Part of a solid line of
cars, I passed a small vehicle without a front bumper, on the left
shoulder. I wondered who hit her? I wonder why I assume the driver was
a woman; did I see her? It all happened so fast, as the cars moved
glacially past.

My windshield grew icier, and I took the next
exit, lowering my window to get a better sense of where I was, wishing
my wiper blades worked as well as my brakes.

I stopped five
times on the way home–at a gas station, on the wide entrance to the
highway in a town midway, at the stoplight at the end of the exit ramp
after the accidents, in the parking lot of the Starbucks in Posh
Neighboring Town (yes, I really needed to stop then, too), and at a gas
station not a mile away, the gas station with the ice cream stand where
we once stopped with the Scribbler-Blue family on a beautiful summer
evening.

It all looks different through a screen of ice. Many
times I wondered if I could possibly be judging the road correctly. As
I crossed the Route One bridge into City By the Sea, I considered where
to stop for a sixth attempt at ice-removal, but the weather seemed
different. The snow no longer contained ice. The defroster seemed to be
melting things. I circled Back Cove, listening to the familiar and
soothing voice of Garrison Keillor, singing a song about a pilot who
did not let difficulties prevent him from a safe landing.

I relaxed, just a little.

Over an hour after leaving church, I arrived home, safely.

21 thoughts on “After Church

  1. S.

    Oops! I didn’t mean to post nothing! I meant to say I was so glad you made it! I remember from my Wisconsin winters how scary icy windscreens can be!

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  2. Phantom Scribbler

    I’m trying to decide if I would have been tempted to *get* ice cream whilst stopping there to clean off my windshield for the fifth time. Hmmmm. Yes, I think I would. So you get double points from me for keeping your cool to make it home, and not getting ice cream.

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  3. Songbird

    Oh, Phantom! They are SO not open in the winter months. But that is funny. Believe me, I had purchased an indulgence at the Starbucks. As I told Pure Luck when I got home, if I were a drinker, I would have wanted him waiting with a bourbon.

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  4. Quotidian Grace

    Yikes! How scary for you. Thank God you arrived home safely.
    Makes me feel guilty that I’m enjoying the 70+ weather and wearing my flip flops…

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  5. Diane Roth

    I’m so glad you made it! Man, I’ve been there! Not for a long time, but I’ve been there.
    Once I was going to go to Minneapolis after Church. I was going to see a play. I got 1 mile out of Watertown, (nearest big town)chickened out and came home. Just didn’t think I could drive 200 miles without being able to see.
    Anyway, I’m glad you are safe.

    Like

  6. Auntie Knickers

    Very scary. Rusty’s after-supper walk was an experience! (He loved it of course). He also loved the earlier walks when it was still snowing. I’m glad you made it home and that you have a good Scandinavian car!

    Like

  7. Deb

    Unlike you, I only have 4.5 miles to drive to get to work. But like you, I have driven those few miles with hands and jaw clenched, every muscle tightened, as I’ve crawled home on icy slippery roads. I’m glad you made it home safe.

    Like

  8. Liz

    I hate ice! I FELT your anxiety through your wonderful writing. I’m so glad you made it home okay…and didn’t have to wrestle with insurance companies (or worse) on Monday.

    Like

  9. Phantom Scribbler

    I still would give you points, Songbird! Because I would have seen the closed ice cream place, and immediately proceeded to the nearest convenience store for a pint of whatever was easiest to grab in the freezer!

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