Today is the day.
I rose from a fitful night of sleep – hours before my alarm would cry it’s shrill banshee wail – my mind turning over the endless array of nefarious possibilities, catastrophic dangers, and uncalculated risks that could derail life and limb.
The countless, seemingly never ending threats that could shift things sideways in a blinker of an eye, leaving me in a mangled mess of sinew and bone, blood and guts splattered about like raspberry jam on a fresh slice of caraway rye.
Was I prepared for this?
This would not remain a rhetorical question as the agreed upon hour was nearing.
I had to hop in my four wheeled chariot and make my into the deep depths of downtown, leaving the comfort of my pants-free life and joining the panted world.
There was a severe wind warning for today, heavy gusts expected, although as I navigated the quiet early morning streets, the sky was blue with the sun shining the way it does with nary a care in the world.
I pulled up in front of the appointed place, a dozen or so minutes before the appointed hour.
For being early is on time, and being on time is being late.
Those words reverberated inside my head as I gulped the last dregs of my coffee from my shimmering red travel coffee mug, the mocha java gently kissed with two and a half tablespoons of sugar and a generous pour of full fat milk, coating my parched throat like the fresh salve from a newly cut aloe vera shoot.
As I clicked my quick arrival message on my palmheld super computer, I steeled myself for the upcoming undertaking, taking a few deep breaths, letting the oxygen permeate within my keyed up physiology.
In a few moments, she arrived. I could see her approaching my car clear as day.
I quickly exited, contorting my tense body out of the driver’s seat and went out to greet her.
It had been some time since we’d last met up, a whole pandemic and then some.
It’s funny how time shifts and twists, yet sometimes, it seems like it hasn’t moved at all.
“Are you ready?”
After our greetings and pleasantries, those were the words that mattered.
“Right now?” There was a subtle waver in her voice, an undercurrent of uncertainty, as though she didn’t think it was the right time, that she wasn’t ready. That this wasn’t the right place to start.
But she was. And this was.
It was early Sunday morning. There would be no better time.
Not here. Not in this town. Not in this place.
“Yes. It’s as good a time as any.”
And I meant every one of those words, using my decades of experience, assessing the risk, the danger, reflecting on those terrifying images that had broken my slumber not even a few hours ago.
It was indeed a good a time as any.
As we took our places in the vehicle, on that first thrust forward, I felt my body shake with inertia.
109 horses lurching forward in unison, a herd of steeds that wouldn’t be stopped, that couldn’t be stopped.
A sudden jerk at the stop sign. A hard brake. The bent L caress across my lap and torso. My foot pressing down against an imaginary pedal, coming up empty, compressing nothing.
Our safety belts held fast, the hardy nylon straps clicking firm with the locking mechanism. Our bodies restrained as they should be.
This was a good sign. The safety systems were functioning, the first test passed with flying colours.
With another powerful thrust forward, off we went again, gaining speed and momentum. Focused intently on those others around us in their cars, their chariots.
Not trusting them to maintain their distance, their space.
As time wore on, our velocity increased to match the rising comfort, the streets shifting subtly as we passed from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
At times our speed exceeding the posted limit, almost unaware, until a soft voice would entreat “the limit’s forty here.”
A gentle retreat, easing off the gas, coasting back down to regulated pace.
For an hour and half we meandered through novel neighbourhoods, snow capped front yards, and narrow streets and lanes.
Tension palpable. Bodies tense. Time did not assuage that sympathetic response.
The conversation was light and easy, even as my heart rode with the Valkyries, thudding intently within my rapidly expanding and contracting rib cage.
Soon, however, we found ourselves rolling back towards our starting point, the adventures coming to a close.
We had survived.
I had survived.
The dangers of being driven by Miss Daisy.
When Miss Daisy is your ex.
And you’re helping her relearn to drive after a decade.
P.S. All the characters and events depicted are fictitious. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.