It was a dark and stormy night. . .

Photo by Jonas Kaiser on Unsplash

It was a dark and stormy night when Lucy was driving home from the beach.  The car headlights were ineffectual even though she had the brights on.  She couldn’t see the side of the road clear enough to dare pulling over.  She slowed the car to a crawl, turned down the radio, and steeled her nerves for what she hoped was the worst of the deluge.

            Her skin was tight and itchy from the last-day-at-the beach-caution-to-the-wind sunburn. The excess alcohol at breakfast exacerbated the situation. The beach trip had been delightful. Due to sundry financial emergencies, her three partners-in-crime had to cancel their plans to go.  In a fit of derring-do, Lucy decided to go alone.  Oh sure, it would be expensive bearing the whole cost of the condo, but she had always wanted to go on a solo trip to the beach.  She had a credit card she reserved for emergencies.  Could opportunities to accomplish a bucket list item be considered an emergency? She convinced herself that it could.

            She’d gotten a late start home when in another fit of derring-do, she decided on mimosas at breakfast which necessitated several hours on the beach to sober up. By the time she settled her tipsy self in the beach chair, she realized the sunscreen was packed in the car.  She wasn’t about to traipse back across the sand and hot asphalt to retrieve it.  She only planned on a few hours, and she had a good tan going. 

Mimosas and eggs benedict at the white tablecloth restaurant had taxed the credit card, but the authorization went through.  She had breathed a sigh of relief.  Now the card just had to hold out long enough to fill the tank twice for the trip home. 

            C’mon Master Charge!

            Though the storm would normally have been terrifying for a solo driver lone on a road late at night, Lucy was happy.  Though the music was quieter now, Lucy still sang along.  Her voice only quavering during the regular hits of lightning and roar of thunder.  Her nerves were fraying, but she was working hard to keep the storm from ruining what had been an epic trip.

            Something darted out from the side of the road, and she slammed on the brakes, shuddering when she heard the thump and felt the car drive over some small animal before coming to a stop. 

            “Aw, man!” With that, she turned the radio down even more.  She was sure the creature was dead.  There was no use in getting out.  Slowly, she started moving again.  Cautious and attentive.

            The storm was proving to be an unpleasant way to end the trip.  She wondered if she should find a motel and just call it a night, but her boss would make that face she makes when displeased and she would hear about it at her next performance review.

            “Lucy, your failure to properly plan is a problem.  As my Marine veteran father used to say, ‘Proper prior planning prevents poor performance.” Lucy couldn’t bear the thought.  Besides she wasn’t sure the card could take another swipe.  She was in the mountains.  It was only a few more hours home.”

            ‘C’mon, Lucy.  Get your shit together.  You can do this.”

            She had to be her own cheerleader then and often in life. The week at the beach had given her plenty of time to think.  Time to think about her boss and her job and her gentleman friend and the overdue bills and aging car and inattentive landlord. 

            It was time to make some changes in her life. 

            Like the storm outside the car, she needed to flood herself and bring down the debris of her mediocre life.   She had lightning flashes of insight in how to make changes that would allow her to thrive. 

            The storm ended as abruptly as it had begun. The clouds lifting and the moon emerging to light the road.  She turned the radio back on and accelerated.  It was time to rock.

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