“She’s whiskey in a teacup.”
~ Loretta Reed
Hello, Karma. Your reputation precedes you, and I see it is well earned.
Although I have been accused, more than once, of leaning towards the dramatic—usually by one of my eight older brothers—I think even they would admit that this was bad. Really bad.
What was that saying? No good deed goes unpunished. Yep. That’s definitely the case here.
I tend to use the scale method to mentally gauge and catalogue my experiences: one means it was horrifically awful, ten means it was out-of-this world amazing.
I once won front row seats and backstage passes to the Tim McGraw and Faith Hill Soul2Soul tour. That turned out to be one of the best nights of my life and I would say was a solid nine on the scale.
My first real kiss at age eleven with Brady Calhoun was a five. Not great, not bad.
Getting my wisdom teeth extracted and ending up with dry socket was a two. So painful, to this day, I still flinch every time I think about it.
In about a month I would be twenty-three years old. And in all those years, I’d yet to assign either a one or a ten to any occasion in my life. I’d reserved them, because where can you go from there? How do you top the worst or the best moment of your life? But today, it seems, I may have experienced a life event so horrifically awful, that one would be the only way to accurately describe it.
“Stay!” I instructed Romeo, the black Labrador retriever I had just liberated from doggie jail to remain in the backseat. He also happened to be the party responsible for me potentially heading to human jail.
He whined as he whipped his tail back and forth in the backseat. I decided to take his behavior as a declaration of obedience. Grabbing the flannel blanket I stored in my car so I wouldn’t get grass stains on my jeans during Movies in the Park, I tossed it over his head in an attempt to hide the evidence and hopefully make him feel safe from the thunder cracking and lightning flashing outside.
Today was Texas weather at its best. Hotter than Hades and so humid my thighs were sticking to my leather seats like they’d been superglued. The cherry on top of the bad weather sundae was a thunderstorm the likes of which I’d never seen. All day the sky had lit up with lightning and crashed with thunder. I’d never been a fan of storms, and so ever since I was a kid I’d always counted the seconds between the spark and the boom and divided it by five, in order to determine how many miles away it was.
After this last strike had flared against the dark clouds, I’d only gotten to four before the boom of a thundering crack sounded, causing a terrified one-hundred-pound Romeo to jump onto my lap. In the domino effect from hell, I lost control of my car and slid off the road before coming to an abrupt stop…which was how I found myself in my current predicament.
“Okay, everything’s going to be fine,” I mumbled under my breath as adrenaline flooded my nervous system.
I turned so that I faced the windshield. My fingers wrapped and tightened around the steering wheel as I stared straight ahead at the law enforcement SUV that I’d just rear-ended while it was parked (yes, parked!) on the side of the highway.
The driver’s side door opened, and a large boot was the first thing to exit the vehicle. It landed on the asphalt with a heavy thud. Or maybe the thumping sound was my heart pounding, since it would be nearly impossible for me to hear anything inside my car with the windows rolled up and the AC blasting.
In an almost cartoon-like fashion, wavy lines surrounded the black leather footwear. On this uncharacteristically sweltering hot, stormy spring day, steam rose from the pavement. It caused the entire scene to have a dream-like appearance. Although in this case the “dream” was a nightmare—one I wished I could wake up from.
Following the boot, an all-too familiar profile appeared, and my breath caught in my throat.
No! Please, please, please God, no! Anyone but…
As the imposing figure stood to his full height, there was no question in my mind that my prayers were not going to be answered today. They had fallen on deaf ears, since the one person that I did not want to face in my current predicament was the man I was staring at.