I watched the numbers on the clock change as I struggled with uncertainty. After five minutes I resolved to give it two more before I tried to move over. I wasn’t sure that would be enough time but I didn’t want to miss the exit. Time crawled by until finally the moment came. I hesitated, the fear bubbling inside me threatening to take over.
Pushing my despair aside I accelerated slightly, pulling ahead of the truck. I signaled and was able to pull in front of the truck easily. With that one small success, I filled with determination. I was going to get off this highway. I would get away from him. I would figure out what I needed to do. I couldn’t let him get to me this way.
The car that had been behind me passed, quickly closing the gap I had left with the car that had been in front of me. I ignored his angry glare. He couldn’t possibly understand how desperate my situation was.
Now that the truck wasn’t blocking my view I took a moment to check out the situation. The sign overhead indicated the exit was just half a mile away. I glanced toward the breakdown lane but saw nothing out of the ordinary. Did he already pass?
Hope grew as the exit came into sight. I pulled into the lane to my right, cutting off one of the other drivers. I had been so intent on my goal I hadn’t looked where I was going. I would have to be more careful. An accident right now wouldn’t help me at all.
With relief I pulled onto the off ramp, speeding to the stoplight at the bottom. Unsure where I was or where I was going I decided to turn right, simply so I wouldn’t have to wait for the traffic signal to change. I slowed down but since there was no one coming I rolled through the red light
I found myself on a rural two lane road and as the trees surrounded me I felt like I was a million miles from the beach house. I drove for another ten minutes, simply appreciating the perceived freedom of being away from the traffic. I found my speed constantly creeping up so I tried to focus my attention on maintaining 5 over the posted 40 mph limit.
As I hummed to myself in the silence of the car I suddenly realized the radio was still off. When I clicked it on music filled the space. Eerily it was one of the songs that had been played at the festival Clay had been part of so long ago.
I pushed the fanciful thought aside. In the weeks we had been together we had listened to a lot of music. It really wasn’t that surprising one of the songs would be playing on the radio, even though I hadn’t realized the local band was big enough to be played so widely. My paranoia was getting the best of me. I reminded myself not everything was about me, or this situation. It was simply a coincidence that this song happened to be playing at that moment. Still, I turned the radio off again.
Coming to a stop at a four way intersection it occurred to me that I had no idea which way I should go. Picking up my phone I opened Google maps. It appeared there was nothing around me for miles. Why on earth was there an exit from the highway to this land of nothingness?
In my zealous haste to escape the traffic I’d ended up literally in the middle of nowhere.
I typed the word “hotel” into the search bar and nothing appeared. As I expanded the area of my search a car approached quickly behind me, coming to an abrupt halt inches from me. The road was dim with the sun beginning to set beyond the trees, making it difficult to make out much about the car or driver behind me.
I jumped when he honked his horn. Making a hasty decision I turned left, unsure where the road would take me.
This post is in response to the daily writing prompts Zealous and is part of something longer I’m working on.
This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after My Only Hope Was to Remain Hidden.