unthaw our hearts

While waiting in the jam up of cars on the ramp going out of the city this morning, I notice a stalled car hugging the guard rail about ten cars ahead.

“How awful” and “what a horrible thing to have happen on this double digit sub-zero morning” are my first thoughts.  As I edge closer, I begin to picture possible scenarios involving the driver’s exit from the car to get help.

Did he or she have to walk down the ramp?  Or did someone drive up, stop next to the car and provide a lift? 

When I pull up next to the car, I notice the windows starting to frost from the bottom up, and then — a hooded form in the driver’s seat.  Rocking back and forth.

My thoughts continue.  Should I do something? It’s moving pretty slow.  Should I get out and tap on the window?  Is he or she waiting for help to come?  Oh no, of course the heat isn’t on if the car is stalled.  It’s minus 15.  This is a terribly lonely and cold thing to endure.

And then I am swept past it. 

I contemplate the consent I’ve given to this process.  I rationalize that I am but a tiny compound of protein riding the convoluted commuter circulatory system, and I hate my excuse for not checking on this person. 

A Saturn mobile comes from behind in a self-made third lane and plays chicken with me to let him go ahead of me.  I give in, and feel sorry for myself.  Life these days , it seems, has become one big game of chicken. 

There is a balloon above my head and it says, “cluck cluck.”

I pray for peace to accompany the clucking — and for the courage to act on my next set of good intentions. 

Author: Julie Ann Stevens

My art flows from the patterns & paths of my lived experience which ⏤ like yours ⏤ are at once deeply personal and entirely universal.

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