Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One Spring Morning

The sun was beginning to rise over the trees.  The birds were singing.  Flowers were blooming.  And I was on my way to work.  The car radio was playing and it seemed like the perfect beginning of a spring day in 1990.

Driving on Bartlett Road, I saw in the distance, a car coming toward me; a white car with tinted windows.  The approaching car slowly began to inch its way into my lane.

"What are you doing?" I asked the invisible driver.

The car came closer and inched ever farther into my lane.

"What is he doing?" I asked myself.  I pressed the steering wheel, and honked my car horn.  It was then that I knew we were going to hit.

But then, an odd thing began to happen.  As my mind began to race, the outer world slowed down.  Inwardly I was running on fast forward, but outwardly it was as if someone had hit the slow motion button.

As I watched the car approach, I remember thinking what a beautiful day it was and what a terrible thing to have happen on such a day.  I remember how the sun reflected on the trees, the color of the sky, the fence beside the road, the greenness of the pasture and the mailbox with the line of ducks on the side.

My mind was noticing the smallest details of everything as my instincts, acting on these millions of data points, took over.  I was now watching the scene and acting in it at the same time.

I watched as my hands, gripping the steering wheel with a strength I didn't know I had, cut sharply to the right toward the pasture.  The car jerked as it left the asphalt.  Data continued to pour in.  There were no cows in the pasture.  There was a ditch with a culvert just inches from my right tire.  Bushes- red tips- scratched the side of my car.  A brick mailbox was directly in my path.  The white car was now directly beside me.  I thought of my family at home.  I could see the shadow of the driver through his tinted windows. I was seeing and thinking in all directions at once.

"The timing has to be perfect," I thought, as I turned the steering wheel sharply to the left toward the road to avoid the mailbox and the white car.  My car spun wildly as I missed them both by inches.  I steered the car in the direction of the spin and at the same time looked down the road for other cars in each direction.

I came out of the spin and my car came to a stop on the opposite side of the road, facing the direction from which I had come.  In front of me, the white car drove away, never stopping or even slowing, as if nothing of any consequence had happened.

I rested my head on the steering wheel.  A strange quiet and calm filled me and surrounded me.  I rolled down my window.  The air rushed in and I took a deep breath.  The sun shone brightly in a clear blue sky as I turned the car around and drove to my office.