Sleep Walk by Larry Carlton plays on the radio as I drive up the Pacific Coast Highway. This is it, I say to myself, this will be my eulogy when I sail—wind blowing through my hair—over the cliff into to the beautiful sea.
I’m in awe, held in dreamlike suspension. The pain is gone. For the moment, I believe if I glide up the road like this I’ll be in ecstasy, forever. The thought takes my breath.
My eyes follow the road over the horizon. Maybe... Maybe I’ll just....
The cliff is where you want to go. It’s the right thing. The pain is gone. You stay, and it’ll return.
That voice is angry, desperate. I don’t recognize it.
I breathe cool fresh air into my lungs.
I’m back where I belong, heading towards the most stunning view I’ve ever seen, where the pain will stop for good.
The song ends. I press replay.
Auh, if life were always like this, I’d have no reason too. . . .
My mind drifts, the song lost in the background.
Sarah and Benjamin—my teenage children—smile at me. All too soon, their faces fade as if a dust storm blows them away.
My husband Sam comes into view, and I fight against the vision that’s haunted me for the last five months. I see him mouth the words “I love you, Annie.”
Smiling, I walk towards him.
Suddenly a woman glides between us. Sam’s eyes are on her now—as if I’m the intruder. She glances back at me. Her lips curl into a sultry smile. She wasn’t smiling when I caught them, no, she wasn’t smiling at all. More like tortured ecstasy that day.
My hands grip the wheel. My heart races.
Sam betrayed me in the worst of ways, and I hate him for it.
Claire used to be my best friend. I hate her too. How could she?
My right foot hits the gas. The sooner I loose the vision of those pathetic creatures—in heat like dogs—the better.
I should kill them instead of myself. Yes, maybe I thought this out wrong. I consider.
I press on the gas again. Trees whizz by. I feel as if I’m in a dream. Then one of those monstrous rigs slips around a corner. My Capri hits a bump. It slides into the other lane. I yank the steering wheel to the right. I’m twirling now, and yet everything is in slow motion as if I’m on a merry-go-round. Flashes of trees, and the truck coming at me, amuse me.
Then without warning, my car stops at the side of the road, engine silent. The truck passes. A car hunks and zooms by.
A man’s voice coming from the radio startles me. “This could be your last opportunity,” he says. “God is calling you. Come to Him while you can.”
Then as if He and his angels are circling above, I hear: “Just as I am with out one plea.” The song I’ve heard hundred times if not more. The Billy Graham crusades.
I was there once, engulfed by the power of God. My life was good back then. There were two roads just like now, but I took a wrong turn when I married Sam.
I look through the trees at the beautiful water below. My cell phone goes off. I let it ring as I start the car and pull onto the road. Glancing at the ocean, I push the tape back in.