Monday, April 14, 2008

A Huge Mistake

Michele was furious. She pounded her fist against the steering wheel. He could not do this to her! Bastard.

She surprised herself with the venomous tone. She could not believe that the man she was dating had lied to her. That the woman he was sharing a house with was also sharing his bed. What a jerk. She turned up the radio to try and get his voice out of her head.

“But honey, she doesn’t mean anything to me. She just needs a place to stay.”

God. Did he think she was an idiot? Ok, well. She had just had her first and last fight with her new ex-boyfriend.

She was recklessly heading home at a slow boil, slowly coming to terms with the fact that she was indeed an idiot when she decided to drive around a while to cool down. Spontaneously she turned right instead of left.

She had always enjoyed driving and she had a new car. It was the first new car she had ever bought. She loved the sunroof and the teal green color that reminded her of the sea. It was a standard shift and she enjoyed the sense of control it gave her.

It was a lovely summer day in the country. She drove with the windows down and the sunroof open. She switched on the radio and poked the scan button until she found a country station. Perfect. A song about a cheating man.

They had met at the local community garden. She was helping the Girl Scout troop plant peas and beans so they could earn their gardening badge. As a master gardener she often volunteered her time. He was helping that day too. She had never seen him before and they had struck up a polite conversation. As the girls giggled and complained about getting dirty, Michele chatted with the garden guy and soon found herself agreeing to go out for a drink. To talk about the Master Gardening program—nothing else. Well, one drink led to two and here she was months later dating a younger man who had lied to her about everything.

She found herself in an endless loop of self-pity and righteous anger. Fuming again, she turned left onto a narrow gravel road. Not paying attention, she rounded curve after curve, picking up speed on her way out of the turns. As a college student they used to call this playing race car driver.

As she came out of a turn, going way too fast, she saw a pair of bicyclists stopped in the middle of the road looking at a map.

What the hell were they doing standing in the middle of the road out here in the middle of nowhere?

She slammed on her brakes, the car started to fish tail; the gravel on the road was just like ice. The faces of the bicyclists were frozen in shock. She fought the car, finally bringing it to a stop, the nose sunk deep into a muddy bank.

She had not hit them.

She leaned her head back against the seat, shaken. She opened her eyes and looked around. She was alone. The bikers had hopped on their bikes and were now distant specks.

As she put the car in reverse to ease out of the bank, there was a ripping sound. She got out to look at the damage. It did not look so bad. The hood and right fender were scratched from the tree roots in the bank, but more ominous was a large piece of black plastic lying in the road. She stood looking at it, puzzled. She picked it up and hoisted it in the trunk, then got back behind the wheel.

How was she ever going to explain this?

She drove slowly and carefully home thinking of possible scenarios. She pulled into the drive and fished around in her purse for her wedding ring and slipped it back on. She leaned back against the seat taking deep breaths.

Suddenly, the car door opened and she started.

“Hi Hon, what took so long at the store?”

Michele looked up at her husband.

“Oh my God. You scared me; I was just in an accident. On my way home there were 2 bicyclists just standing in the middle of the road. I swerved to avoid them and hit a mud bank. They didn’t even stop to see if I was OK.” She started to cry. “I am an idiot. I wrecked the new car. I could have been killed.”

She got out of the car and he gathered her in his arms.

“Don’t worry about the car. Are you OK? I don’t know what I would do if I were to lose you.”


Anonymous said...

What was the mistake? Her taste in men, the affair, the speeding, the wreck, the lack of judgment? You got a lot going on here.


Bevson said...

Wow. I guess all of the above. She does appear to be a self-centered jerk. I love that you said lack of judgment. That hits the nail on the head I think. Thanks for stopping by!

Anonymous said...

I forgot about this story! This is such a good one...I love how you totally sympathize with her until the end when you realize that she, too, is a jerk! I think you're right when you call her self-centered, because nowhere in the story is there concern for anyone else. When she starts crying, it's not because she might have hurt the bicyclists, it's because they left without attending to her obviously more important needs! ;)