As he was driving back home, it started to get dark. An annoying, fine rain, like the spit coming from an enthusiastic talker, sprayed on his ancient Honda windshield. The wipers struggled useless to keep up. The headlights were in no better shape, fighting with their last spark to shed some light on the dark road, which seemed so mysterious in the night.
Fortunately, the 20 miles he had driving home from his parent’s house, he knew in the smallest detail. He traveled hundreds of times to and from his hometown. His father lived alone in his childhood house now. Two weeks ago, on his last visit they went together to his mother’s grave. They talked afterwards, sipped from a glass of brandy and recalled for the thousandth time funny little happenings from his childhood, or some of the great events in the family.
This time he helped his old father prepare for the holidays. Christmas Eve was tomorrow.
He would have left earlier, trying to avoid driving at night, but wanted to ensure he left everything in order for his father.
Holidays were not the same as they were when he was a child growing up in the home. There were no longer carolers, but having a Christmas tree decorated brought some festive feel in the house. When a child, he used to go to the edge of the forest and steal a few branches of fir . They would decorate them with cheap paper ornaments and adorn them with “silver” packages of cheap candy. What a time!
The road he was driving on was not very traveled. Suddenly he saw what looked like a bundle in the middle of the road. He pulled the steering wheel instinctively to the left, but it was too late. He drove his both right side wheels over it.
What the hell was it?
He slowed down trying to think, and then accelerated again.
What could have been ? Maybe a dog, nothing more than a dog ? Perhaps already dead, trampled by someone else before him.
He recalled how when a child in the village, a known drunkard was run over by a tractor, ironically driven by another drunk … Yes, but the guy was driving a tractor. At least that was established in the investigation. The tractor driver was sentenced to many years in jail, but the rumor was that, in fact, the author of the accident was a renown politician who drove drunk his Mercedes causing the accident and who had paid the tractor driver hard money to escape the charges .
What if he run over a drunkard to? Or, God forbid, a sick person, fallen in the middle of the road ? He was not a coward, he will return and see what it was. He’d do jail if need, though, after all, what was anyone doing on the road at night, in that place? Maybe he will be found innocent. But he left the accident scene … That is punished anyway …
What will Mildred say? She tormented him so many times, about how he was careless, how he’s always dreaming, how he’s an absent-minded poet … She rarely let him go on the road without her accompanying him, always with an observation, always right, always careful. It was annoying, but useful. More times, it was helpful.
She will never forgive him …
He needed to see what it was so he pulled over, grabbed his temples, and let his thoughts roam free for a while. The pressure building up in his head left him dizzy for a while He could continue driving as if nothing had happened. Let go of any persuasions and wait. Wait what? Maybe an announcement on the radio as he was approaching the city. Police is relentless in hit and run accidents… they will search for the car.
To hide the car?He was prepared to give it up to a junk yard, although he struggled to gather the money to buy it a couple of years ago …
Now … I must return!
He looked left and then right and turned the car around .He had gone about ten miles when an ambulance with all lights flashing and a deafening siren passed him. He felt a sickening feeling taking over his already weak body …
Oh, no! So soon?
He stepped on the gas pedal picking up some speed following the ambulance and when he realized it drove by the place where his run over victim was visibly in the middle of the road he recaptured a bit of his coolness. He pulled over on the right side of the road, next to what he knew he run over with his car. It looked like a bundle of blankets tied loosely .
It was totally inert.
He took a lantern from the car and approached the lifeless object . Or whatever it was! He examined it front to back. No cars were coming.
Bright flashlight … Whaaaat? A bag of potatoes ! A bag of potatoes that most likely fell of a truck! Ha! Ha, ha, ha! Oh, what a relief! Potaaaaatoes!
How beautiful life can be sometimes! I exist, God! Happiness is alive!.
Tipping his body back and forth, he carried the bag of potatoes to his car.
Mildred was waiting for him at home.
The engine was running reassuring now.
God! Monday I’ll go to the Cathedral and pray. One hundred prayers! Then I’ll go and give this old car away! Old girl, you have lived your life. You’ve been good, but there’s not much more you can do now!
As his heart returned to its normal pace, he noticed how the rain stopped . The clouds were covering only half the month . He had tears in his eyes. He was drunk with happiness. Tomorrow is Christmas. Will be the happiest Christmas since no longer a child.
Over the hill, the great city lights sparkled inviting…As he drove in, the one side of the road was full of multicolored lights, decorated with large and small globes. One large star, probably made by the City Hall, reigned in the middle of the new roundabout junction with the road he was diving on ….
What’s this fashion now with these roundabouts, this is a small intersection. Flickering lights everywhere boosted tears of joy in his eyes.
He entered the roundabout and before realizing he was going the wrong way, the big bright lights coming from the truck approaching from the opposite direction blinded him. This should have triggered his common sense, but instead he ignored his instinct of stepping on the break and drove straight ahead…
Didnot feel anything. Just floating in a blinding light, like a movie in slow motion. Floating in the light, the eternal light and the infinite darkness…