Driving to work in the heavy autumn rains, it felt like the sun had escaped our view forever. Where the sun shines 330 days a year, when the clouds come and darken our world, we freak out a bit and depression and edginess spreads over the town like the plague. Nonetheless, after a soggy, cool weekend, I had dropped my boys off at school and was headed to work at the Dermatology Clinic at the Medical School. I got halfway there, talking and begging my old white Audi, Blanche, to hang in there until I made it to work. Suddenly she sputtered and coughed. I patted the dashboard lovingly, speaking gently and encouragingly to her. That’s when all the lights flashed on my dashboard and I felt Blanche die and start floating in the rushing river of water that Brownfield highway had somehow become. Yikes! I was really floating! Just like those people on the news in other places! I willed Blanche to coast right, twisting her steering wheel hard to the right, hoping it would help. I felt her tires hit pavement and steered even harder. She stopped, right in the middle of the busiest traffic in town. I was stuck in the middle lane of a three lane highway and cars were whizzing by like SST’s. What was I going to do? Suddenly a huge truck pulled up and stopped in front of me while simultaneously its emergency flashers started blinking. A huge, young cowboy climbed out of the truck and made his way back to me. I opened my door to talk to him. “Ma’am, has she died completely? I’ll pull her over to the side if you’d like me to do so. My truck can take her easily.” As I looked into the man’s deep blue eyes, I had an inappropriate thought that he could take me easily too. I didn’t say that out loud, though, thank goodness! I didn’t want to be a stereotypical divorcee, embarrassingly lonely and obvious. “If you could do that, I’d really appreciate it! I’m afraid I’m going to cause a stack up if I don’t pull her over. What do I need to do?” “Not a thing! Just sit tight and I’ll hook her up! Then when I signal, put her in neutral and guide her to the parking lot over there.” Sitting in the car and being pulled over to the side, I had to smile. West Texans might be a lot of things, but unhelpful they were not. As my car coasted into the parking lot and I put her in park, the young man jumped out of his truck and came back, leaned in over the open door. “Do you need a ride to work? I’m headed over to the main campus.” My day, even in the heavy fall rain, suddenly had sunlight.
Heavy, bruising rain,
Ice cold and relentlessly dull,
Making new rivers.
© D. Elaine Wood-Lane
The Haibun prompt from dVerse Poets (https://dversepoets.com) was to use one of the Japanese words for rain as the title and to describe the type of rain being written about. A Haibun consists of a non-fiction paragraph followed by a haiku to summarize and deconstruct the main point of the prose paragraph. This is my offering today as a memory came to me of a heavy rainy day when a kind stranger towed my car to the side of the road.