You are driving along a familiar tree-lined street with your window open to the warm summer air. Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” is playing on the radio.
You used to love that song in High School. When was that? Twenty-seven years ago? It seems funny that it’s made a comeback thanks to “Glee.” But it’s resurgence started before the cast of Glee covered it, right? It’s a great summer song: catchy music, but kind of vague. Why, you wonder, does your niece and her teen-age friends love it so much? And then you notice a snowflake. Before you realize it, the snow falls hard and fast. You close your window to it and turn on the wipers, but it’s blinding.
Everything familiar has disappeared behind a white curtain.
You grip the wheel, ease your foot off the brake pedal. No brake, no skid, right? Isn’t that what Father taught you if you ever happened to feel the car begin to slide? In between thoughts, however, your car has taken flight. Your wheels are no longer on the road. You’re in a strange place, floating above where the road should be.
There’s no such a place as South Detroit, you realize. Steve Perry sings about being raised there, but how could that be? You worked in the RenCen and drove south to Windsor, Canada – not South Detroit. And the only train in Detroit is the People Mover; a train that loops 3 miles of downtown and costs 50 cents. You can walk faster than that thing. It’s absurd, but it doesn’t matter. You have to concentrate.
This snowstorm in the middle of summer is incredulous. It cannot, should not be happening to you, but it is happening to you. Isn’t it? Your world has become a surreal wonderland. And you thought you had nothing in common with Alice.
Curious and curiouser. So what do you do? You pray.
You pray with all your heart. If God will get you through this – you reason – you promise to be a better person. You promise to believe. You don’t want to become one of those streetlight people living just to find emotion. That’s silly. You worry too much. You are not doomed, yet.
You cry. You plead. You are twisted inside because you’re afraid you might not make it to see one more day. And you need one more day. You have to have one more day to right the wrongs you have done; to feel the warmth of your lover’s arms one more time; to hold a child’s hand; to stroke the velvety head of a dog; to laugh with your best friend.
Is this me? You ask. You hardly recognize yourself in the rear view mirror. Your face is drained of color. Your eyes are sunken. There’s a deep cross between your eyebrows. “I will make it,” you say over and over. Your chant grows louder and stronger. You believe you will get through this. “I can do this.”
You crest the top of the hill. The sky turns bright blue. A few flakes fall on the hood and then vanish. Your wheels are back on the road.
Everything is as it should be.
You exhale. Don’t stop believin’ fades away as you accelerate home.