Waking up with a splitting headache, I downed amma’s kaapi and an Advil to boot. Dressed for the snow, I waited for my brother to show up to get a ride to the local school where I had abandoned my car late last night. Driving up as I glimpsed my car a wave of emotions rose to the surface. I felt pure joy seeing her just as I had left her. Rushing to scrape the snow and clear the ice on the windshield, I got behind the wheel and drove home carefully. Pulling into the garage. I felt a swell of relief and happiness. Pausing for a moment, I touched the hood lovingly and whispered “Sorry baby.”
You see, I had to abandon her yesterday and I could not forgive myself for it. After class, I drove slowly knowing the snow was falling slowly and steadily but nothing could have prepared me for the white swathe of snow and ice on the hilly slopes that lead my home. Slowly working my way up, I realized the wheels were spinning and I was not getting anywhere. Panic rose in my throat as I realized there were cars behind me. It is no fun getting stuck in the middle of a one land road at night with snow falling gently and beautifully. Slipping and sliding in the snow I muttered a quick prayer and gave up hopes of going home. Maneuvering the car in a position that would let traffic at least pass one way, I was scared to take my foot off the brake. I realized with a start that my bag with my cell phone was on the back seat and I could not reach it. Feeling trapped, I hit the emergency light and sat in the seat peering out the window with my foot frozen on the brake pedal.
Car after car passed. Some slowly with regret on their faces but knowing full well getting themselves out of this mess was top priority. Watching my car lights flicker against the snow, I was wondering if I could take my foot of the brake and try putting it on park. No luck. The moment foot was off the pedal I could feel the car slide backward. Scared I clutched on to the safety of the brake and waited. Noticing a steady light behind me I lowered my window to let them pass, a boy all of 17 or 18 walked by and asked if I needed help. Explaining quickly I said my wheels were spinning and I couldn’t take my leg off the brake to get to my bag. He listened and getting soaked by the slow snow accumulating, he called 411 and got in touch with the local AAA help. Handing over the phone, he waited patiently while I upgraded my membership and gave out my co-ords for someone to come get me. Thanking him profusely I handed back the phone and with his help got my purse from the back.
It was already an hour since I was stuck, my windshield was accumulating more snow and it was getting foggy inside. Slowly hitting the parking brake I managed to get my leg off the pedal and sat in the darkness waiting for help. Plenty more cars passed, skidded and slid their way up. Another gentleman stopped and tried to help me reverse back to the flat road before the hill started. It only got me blocking both lanes. Reverting back to my original position, I thanked the guy and stayed put. 30 minutes later, the AAA guys came by and I got out of the car and let them take over. Of the two guys who came over, one tried driving my car up the hill with no luck. The other asked me to hop on to the truck and wait inside. It was surreal watching some one else in my car slipping and sliding. I felt helpless. Watching headlights behind us, the truck driver put the truck on park and stepped out to apprise them of the situation. I suddenly realized the truck was sliding backward. Yelling, I looked around in panic. The driver got back in and brought the vehicle to a stop. Eventually all of us got out and convened in the middle of the road. Now, there were two other cars stuck just like mine. The AAA guys said all they could do was to help me get my car back on flat land. They did just that and left. Back at the signal I had no idea where to put the car. Driving slowly back on the route I came from, I decided to leave the car at the local school and walk back.
Parking in the snow, I saw two other cars at the school. Only problem was getting out of the car, my foot sunk a feet deep in the snow. My shoes felt icy and I could feel my feet and socks and jean get wet till above the ankle. Worse they were getting numb. Ploughing through the snow, laptop on my back and a handbag to boot, I walked. Stopping to let the occasional car pass, I was hoping I would last till I got home. My teeth was chattering, my feet and hands burning or numb I prayed to God to send someone to help me.
Halfway to my home, I heard a car slow down behind me. It was a truck and the driver rolled down the window and asked if I wanted help. I said if he could give me a drop to the nearest signal that would be great. He had the kindest eyes I had seen in a while. Hop in he said. Struggling to get in with both my bags I gave him a thankful smile and settled in. “Back from school?” he asked. No I said and gave him a short summary of what happened. As we drove along, we picked three other people who were similarly stranded and made our way up. At the signal, knowing we were all headed up the hill he offered to drop us home. I could have cried for joy. Getting off at my home, I blessed him with all my heart and trudged inside to a worried but now relieved mom. Bro and sis were on the phone all eager to know if I reached home safe.
Tucking myself into bed after some feeling returned to my feet and hands, I said a quick prayer and hoped my car would be safe. It was quite an adventure but one that helped me realize I was made of sterner stuff than I thought. It also helped reinforce the basic goodness of people. And I knew my car was my baby.