The Scintilla Project is wrapping up its fortnight of story-telling. I know that I at least have plenty of prompts left over to mull over for the next little while. Today I am answering the prompt: Tell about a time you lost control.
The first thing you need to know is that it was cold. The second, and more obvious, is that I am Texan and at the time was a wimp when it came to dealing with the cold. But this cold was actually, semi-legitimate. It was below freezing and the roads were actually iced over.
I was a junior in college and starting my first Sunday as the piano for a small Baptist church. They were about a fifteen minute drive from my apartment and I was excited beyond belief. I was slightly disappointed when my sister decided to drive home for the weekend, preventing my parents from coming up to be there when I started this job. And then it got cold, like, freezing cold. I didn’t want to drive out there with the temperatures in the mid-twenties, but I had no way to call and say I wouldn’t be there and I couldn’t leave them without a pianist on my very first week on the job. The news said that the roads had been sanded, because that’s what we Texans do, none of this salt nonsense, a little sand will be fine, right?
I remember the trepidation in my heart as I started up my 1998 Ford Ranger. It was beat up, it was old, but it was all mine. I shifted it into first gear and we were off, slowly and cautiously, to church. I crept through town and slowly found my confidence as everything seemed to be okay. And then I had to get on the highway, I slowed down over the first overpass and was relieved when everything seemed fine. I sped up, to thirty-five whole miles per hour. The second bridge is where it went wrong.
I came up onto the top of it, out over the air and immediately knew it wasn’t right. My poor little pick up started slipping and sliding on the ice. The back end came around from the right and then around from the left, I started praying and let my hands ghost over the wheel. I took the truck out of gear as the swerving increased in violence and watched my windshield alternate aiming for the metal railing with its twenty foot drop and the median and it’s grassy slope. I cautiously tried touching the jerking steering wheel and found it amenable to being slightly guided. I rocked to a stop half on the shoulder, half in the grass. My soda was rolling, open and spilling in the floor of the passenger side. My cell phone was lost beneath a seat. The whole ordeal probably only lasted about thirty seconds, but they were still the most terror filled seconds of my life.
P.S. I did in fact make it to church.