For the third time, Sherry checked to make sure Arianna was wearing her seatbelt properly before turning her attention back to the icy roads. She eased up on the gas and glanced at the dashboard clock. Gripping the steering wheel with both hands, she leaned forward slightly.
“Do you think we’ll get there on time?” her daughter asked.
“I hope so, sweetheart, but I didn’t realize the roads were so icy,” Sherry said. “Are you sure you brought everything? Do you have an extra copy of the scholarship application and essay?"
“Yes, Mom.” As usual, her daughter’s tone was insolent and slightly contemptuous. “Although they wouldn’t have made me a finalist if they didn’t have my paperwork, would they?”
Sherry clenched her teeth to keep the angry denunciation of her Arianna’s ungrateful attitude from escaping. Unexpected brake lights glared in front of her, and she pressed the brake pedal hard – too hard, as the sedan immediately began to skid toward the concrete barrier on their left.
“Mom?” Sherry ignored her daughter to concentrate on her driving, taking her foot off the brake and steering into the skid before gently pressing the brake pedal again. Her fingers were claws gripping the steering wheel as she tried desperately to stop the car before hitting the bumper of the black SUV now stopped in front of them.
“Hold on, honey!” Sherry tried to speak calmly as she braced herself for the sickening crunch of metal on metal. It never came. The SUV rolled forward a few feet, and the sedan slid to a stop a few inches behind it. Sherry lowered her head to the steering wheel and silently gave thanks for their safety.
“Arianna, are you alright?” Sherry could tell that her voice was shaking to match her hands.
Wide eyed, Arianna nodded. When she spoke, her voice was also shaky. “I can see now why you always bug Dad about tailgating. If you hadn’t left so much room, we’d have hit him.” They both looked at the imposing black SUV in front of them.
Sherry took a deep breath and released it in a long sigh. “I guess God’s watching out for us today.” Arianna did not answer at first, and Sherry glanced over, expecting to see her daughter's usual angry reaction to anything religious.
After several minutes, Arianna spoke and Sherry leaned forward to make out the quiet words. “Yeah, Mom. I guess you’re right.” They drove in silence for about twenty minutes, but the traffic was bad and they were going slowly. Finally, Arianna spoke again. “We’re going to be late, aren’t we?”
“Yes, honey. I’m so sorry. I know you had your heart set on this scholarship.”
Sherry glanced at her daughter, and was amazed to see a genuine smile on her face. “It’s alright. I’m sure they know about the traffic and the icy roads. Remember? God’s taking care of us today.”
The tears filling Sherry’s eyes overflowed onto her cheeks when her daughter added, “Thanks for bringing me, Mom."
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