She merged onto the Interstate to save herself.
The grooves in the road met the treads in the tires with a measured thump-thump, in a cadence so perfect that her heart used it as a metronome to keep pace.
The purr of her car’s engine spoke to the buzzing in her mind and calmed it to a gentle hum.
The exhaust system emitted a throaty growl as the tailpipe exhaled sweet fumes. In a normal response she would have inhaled deeply to saturate her brain cells with the life-robbing gas. Tonight, she allowed her lungs steady and mindful breaths.
Her thoughts wandered, but her peripheral vision remained sharp, most notably with the lines and the signs.
The dashed lane markers blurred into a line that reminded her to stay in the center. The signs sent their own messages.
Orange signs meant construction and a SNAFU in traffic matters ahead. She paid them little heed as hers was the only car on the road.
Green signs meant that a street was approaching at a certain point. When the point was reached, an arrow demanded that the driver exit.
Blue signs politely invited the motorist to do the same, with promises of fuel, food, and rest.
She ignored all. She was relaxed and thought about the crippling anxiety she felt just an hour ago and how she wanted to end it. Now, she felt a calm and peace. She knew all would be okay. She closed her eyes for a moment. As she opened them, she caught a sign that read, “Right Lane, 1.5 Miles.”
Her mind tried to piece it together. Right lane closed in 1.5 miles? She was in the center lane. Her thoughts wandered again. During Driver Education, her instructor warned her about highway hypnosis. She always thought that the concept was absurd. Tonight she realized it could happen.
Her mind came back to “The Present.” She saw that she missed the orange and white exit sign in the right lane. Straight ahead, she saw the sign that read, “Bridge Out.”
Earlier she merged onto the Interstate to save herself.
She smiled at her final thought.
“Oh, the irony.”