NBK in Michigan: THE THRILLING CONCLUSION (Part 3)
I ended last time on a really enigmatic "the night wasn’t over yet," but I lied. It was over. I just wanted to use that phrase at least once in my life, and I wasn’t going to get a better chance than that. And I mean, sure, the night was over. The story, however, is not.
It had been a night of firsts for me. First kiss. First kitchen mosh pit. First all-nighter spent washing puke out of someone else’s sheets. As a result, nobody was very cheerful the next morning. My friends, Allison and Tara, and I were tired and ready to get on with the 3.5-hour drive home. In the midst of said puking snafu, I had offered to drive. Having now gone thirty-six hours without sleep, I was regretting this wholeheartedly.
"All right," I said, getting behind the wheel, "I’ll do it. But you have to tell me where to go, because I only vaguely know where we are."
I hadn't yet had the chance to tell Tara or Allison about Matthew and our little mid-party face-smashing. I decided to tell them once we got on the highway; painstakingly attempting to navigate our way out of the city while everyone was groggy and tired did not seem like the right time. But the right time didn’t come. No sooner had I turned left across four lanes of traffic than Tara said, "Okay, you're going to want to turn here," and then, after a pause, "Elodie, you missed it."
"Hmm," was my response.
"The car seems to be, uh... either dead or dying."
"And... yep. There goes the engine. So the car seems to be dead." There was a horrified silence as the suddenness of our predicament swelled in the car like a balloon, and, in a voice that was not so much "cool and calm" as it was "too shocked to respond with the appropriate level of terror," I said, "Well, this is just about the worst timing ever," as the car continued to careen uncontrollably down a busy street.
I don't generally make good snap decisions. I've been known to buy things impulsively, say stupid things on the fly, and order food at random because the waitress is looking at me expectantly. But in that moment, I had to make a snap decision. Somewhere in the deepest recesses of my brain, the logic department was operating on all cylinders, and I noted with some relief that the car was decelerating. I noted with somewhat less relief that we were heading towards a smallish hill, that the car would not be able to get to the top, and that we would ultimately roll backwards into a busy intersection. After a few seconds of frantic inner turmoil, I looked at my options, declared all of them bad, and selected the least terrible one, which was to cruise the car straight into a snow bank with an almighty keening sound like that of the Titanic hitting an iceberg.
The three of us looked at each other. If you've never immersed yourself in the "did we really just drive the car into a snow bank" silence, I actually highly recommend it. It changes you as a person.
"Wow," said Allison from the backseat.
"2014 is off to a great start," said Tara gloomily, pulling out her phone to call the tow truck.
Personally, I felt it was a miracle that I hadn’t taken it upon myself to veer down the one-way street on my immediate right and straight into oncoming traffic, because in my frenzied, oh-God-what’s-happening mental state, it had seemed like a viable option. But I could see her point. There weren’t any auto shops open on New Year’s Day, and temperatures were subzero. After a while, staying in the car didn't matter much; there was an all-consuming bitter cold seeping in, and it seemed more prudent to get out and avoid possibly getting sideswiped by another vehicle, seeing as our car was jutting out inconveniently into the road and all.
It seemed impossible that, mere hours before, I had been dancing and flirting and kissing someone. We stood there in the snow, shivering and trying not to make eye contact with the cars going around us. Tara swore, kicking at a nearby ice block, probably because of the utter screwedness of our current predicament. It was either that or the arctic blast of wind and the fact that I could practically already feel the frostbite.
"It might be premature to say this," said Allison, "but I don't think we've ever been in a bigger pickle."
DAMMIT, ELODIE FOOLED US; THERE'S NO KISSING IN THIS INSTALLMENT. BUT CARS IN SNOW BANKS ARE PRETTY EXCITING TOO! What do you think is going to happen next?!