Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: COMMUTE (07/07/16)
- TITLE: My Angel
By M. C. Syben
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My guardian angel’s interventions revealed themselves three times in my life, all during interstate commutes.
The first interaction occurred when I was sixteen years old as I joined my friend Marsha on a family visit. She drove an ancient Volkswagen bug that the wind blew around like a piece of garbage on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. One whopping gust pushed the car so the tire caught the road’s edge. The next thing I knew the car was flying across two lanes.
I remained calm as Marsha tried to correct the steering. “Pump the brakes,” I recited from a recent driver’s education class.
“I am. I am.” Marsha screamed. We saw only a blur in front of us as we swerved from lane to lane. Suddenly, the car straightened out and we headed toward the grassy median which led to oncoming traffic.
“We’re going to die,” I thought, oddly composed. Somehow, Marsha heard my thought and replied to it.
“No we’re not,” she screamed. She slammed on the brakes. The car began to spin. Finally, it came to a stop for a full second facing the direction we had come. Then, as though a hand reached down, it spun one last time, placing the vehicle in the correct direction.
Immediately, I rolled down the window and yelled “Thank you.” I still wonder why I lowered the window. The power that spun the car from a complete standstill would have heard silent praise.
Eleven years after my Pennsylvania miracle, I lived in Maryland. In an attempt to decrease debt, I decided to do what many friends did... work two jobs. I drove forty-five minutes to an eight-hour secretarial job in Rockville, Maryland. Afterwards, I drove an hour further south to Virginia for a four-hour night-time gig as a singer. Of course, that left a long one-hour forty-five-minute drive home at midnight. But it was only a two-week gig. It paid well. I knew I could do it. Thanks to my guardian angel, I am here to tell you about it.
After a week, I felt the strain of the schedule. I’ve always been a person who needed a lot of rest. My brain says, “go, go, go.” My body says, “no, no, no.” While driving on the Baltimore/Washington Parkway, about fifteen minutes from home, I began to talk myself up. “Almost home. Stay awake.” My little Dodge colt had no AC. So, I cracked the window for air. I blasted some rock on the radio—anything to keep me awake. Somehow, for the first time in my life, I fell asleep at the wheel.
Suddenly, I heard a thunderous noise. I felt a huge rush of air. I jerked my head up. A large tractor trailer was bearing down on me from behind. My speedometer said thirty miles per hour. I hit the gas and made it to the side of the road trying to make sense of what happened.
Apparently, after falling asleep, my foot had slid off the gas pedal. I had stayed in my lane. The miracle was that my hatch back had popped open causing the blast of oxygen and racket, which awakened me. But what had caused it to unlatch? It never had before. I shuttered as I slammed it down. What would have happened had I not awakened? I opened all the windows. I drove off the first exit, had coffee, and splashed water on my face. I made it home safely. Only a couple of nights to go.
As a preventative measure, I drank coffee and coke all the next night in between songs. Yet, I still fell asleep on the way home at almost the exact same spot on the parkway; a repeat of the previous night’s events occurred. My hatchback opened up saving me!
That time I listened to my angel. I vowed to never put myself in a dangerous situation of being too tired to drive. Finally, I accepted the body I was given. I never endangered myself again and the hatchback never popped open again.
I’m grateful to be aware of my angelic interventions. However, I suspect those few times were the extreme “couldn’t-help-be-caught” moments. How many more times was I saved from the grips of death?
Now that I’ve moved to the mountains where the roads are winding and steep, I picture my guardian mopping his brow with a huge, worn kerchief. I bet I keep him on his toes up here.
I do hope guardian angels earn respites. I pray that mine receives a glorious one when my earth years are done.
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