… a few hours later as you begin heading down a mountain you realize your brakes stopped working. “Rachel, Rachel wake up! The brakes are out!”
“What?!” She yells as she sits up and opens her eyes.
The road is straight for about a mile before a nasty right curve needs to be made. Sweat starts bleeding down your face. Your palms become moist if not slick and your heart is beating twice as fast as you’re driving. You try pumping the brakes repeatedly. Nothing happens. “Rachel, that curve down ahead – we’ll never make it at this speed!” you say nervously as your nervous voice cracks.
“I know. I know.” She says, afraid of what might happen. You look at her and wish this weren’t happening. You can tell she is thinking the same. The left side of the road has a cement divider, the right side – a rocky mountain. There are no other cars in sight. All other options considered you decide to slide the car up against the cement divider. “Rachel! I am gonna use the divider to try to slow us down. Any other ideas – we haven’t any time!”
“No. Good! Do it now!” she spoke loudly, hurriedly.
You are going down the mountain at seventy some odd miles per hour. “Now or never.” you say to yourself as you gently slide the car up against the divider. Sparks start flying and the screeching sound of scraping metal is all you can hear. You look at the speedometer – still seventy plus miles an hour – you look at Rachel and yell, “It’s not working!” She returns a look of sorrow coupled with adoration. You are both living the same moment of intensity.
A sign with an arrow and the number 35 indicating the speed for the upcoming curve appears, staring you blankly in the face. Slack jawed, you just look at the digits 3 and 5 and wonder if you have ever felt this afraid of a number before in your life – you haven’t. You stop thinking and turn the car further to the left to get more friction between you and the divider. You hear a huge bursting sound and the car starts to spin counterclockwise. Your heart is beating outside your chest and time has slowed down. For a moment you are moving backwards. You hit the gas without even thinking – apparently trying to drive back up the mountain. An instant later you release the gas and continue spinning. Rachel has one hand on the dash and her other hand on you. All you can hear is scraping, crunching, and crushing metal then suddenly with a bump and a jolt the car is flipping sideways wheels-over-roof and flying though the air.
All is silent, for a moment.
With a sound reminiscent of a plane crash the car hits the ground and comes to a complete stop in less than an instant. You imagine the edge is just feet away. Rachel’s limp body is in your lap and you feel light and disoriented. In the distance of your mind you remember climbing your favorite tree – a giant willow tree in the front yard of your childhood house. You can see yourself just sitting in your favorite place – sometimes you’d stay there all day, unwilling to come down. You think about this for a moment. That was nice you decide as you watch the image of you and tree quietly fade away.