The Collision Baptismal

At times when the road is slick and premature dusk bloats up the sky, I clasp the steering wheel and shut my eyes. In that suspended moment I feel helpless to the whims of the universe; I dare the Fates to cut my cord, that coiling umbilical that I never felt really connected to anyway. For the first split second I try to make out the orangey afterburn of the dashboard meters on the backs of my eyelids—is that arc the gas meter, the odometer?

I’ve never been able to get past six seconds. At first I started on country roads, then straightaways on interstates where the lines don’t curve. That got boring; the rumbler strips always made it too easy to tell when I was drifting. Now I’ve worked up to higher traffic sidewinder streets, and the only thing left to try is relaxing my hands more—to try not to make so much of a conscious effort to stay straight.

And every time my pulse increases with the speedometer. My mouth gets dry, hands clench. It frustrates me—I want to be at the point of no reaction.

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