Fumbling with the jack, Caitlyn gave up and retrieved the big red gas can that had belonged to an ex-boyfriend. The car had run out of gas and then developed a flat tire when she coasted into the construction zone to get out of traffic. Caitlyn was putting one foot in front of the other and chanting “If you are going through hell, keep going” over and over. Winston Churchill’s voice, as she imagined it, reverberated in her head.
“If you are going through hell, keep going.” This day was starting badly during a year of one bad day after another. Bad news, stress, family mayhem, and other assorted and sundry disasters were abundant.
Her 17-year-old Subaru was ready to go to the Subaru afterlife. The gas gauge had quit working a few months earlier. She thought she had enough in the tank to drive past the expensive stations to the cheap one where she was a regular. She was wrong.
“If you’re going through hell, keep going.” She was tired. Working two jobs was killing her just as surely would the two-pack-a-day habit which she’d beat almost 5 years ago.
Finally, she made it to the right exit and quit chanting. At the station, she said a little prayer when she inserted her debit card. So far so good. She punched in her PIN. It seemed an eternity before the screen on the pump read DECLINED and told her to remove her card.
She sat down on the concrete and cried, hugging the gas can. She started chanting again. “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
Through the tears, she saw a pair of cowboy boots coming towards her. Oh, God no. She hastily wiped her tears when the man attached to the boots said, “How can I help?” His voice was a smooth rich baritone. You could tell just by the way he talked, that he was a singer.
The tears started again this time accompanied by sobs. No one had been gentle with her in so long.
He took the gas can from her. “I’m guessing you need regular unleaded.”
He put in his platinum card and filled the can. OK. Come to my truck with me. Just as soon as I finish filling it, I’ll drive you to your car.
She nodded, trying to hide the dripping snot. She had nothing left to lose to worry about her safety.
“There’s tissue in the glove box. Help yourself.”
Also in the glove box was a CD. Jake Sanders! His debut album cover. How many times had she listened to that one? It remained her favorite. She hadn’t really looked at the man’s face because of her embarrassment. She looked at the man who was negotiating a left turn onto the highway. Jake Sanders was helping her.
To be continued. . .