Sometimes business trips come to an abrupt end. Sometimes you get stuck on the interstate in a storm of an apocalyptic level. Sometimes you find yourself going for thirty-six hours nonstop. Sometimes you feel you so fucking sleepy but can’t sleep that you think about downing an entire bottle of NyQuil and hope that you don’t wake up.
Sometimes you wake up.
My dreams when in my NyQuil induced coma – a quick and fierce 9 hours of sweet, sweet sleep – were nightmarish. Fucking downright terrifying, at times, and I am actually surprised as to how well rested I felt when I woke from them. NyQuil is an amazing thing, I suppose.
I can only assume that my dreams were due to the situation I found myself in on the 25th, when I get a call from my home location of work that I need to return due to a higher-up having to go out of town for a death in their family.
My estimated time of arrival to my place of living was supposed to be around 11 that night. Enough time for me to get at least five hours of sleep.
As I am leaving my hotel I hear murmurs of a severe storm creeping it’s way up. Trying to be smart, I check the weather and my route and it all looks good. I should be going right around it. Get some rain from the edge of the beast, but nothing too bad. It was gonna be as smooth of return home as it was on my drive up.
Or so I thought.
Getting out of Charlotte and onto the interstate and heading on back down south-east to Savannah all I see is blue skies and bright, gorgeous clouds before me. Out my driver side window, however, it looks like the apocalypse is heading right towards Charlotte, horsemen and all. For me, however, it looked like I was gonna be fine. The behemoth was falling further behind me and I was getting closer and closer to the sunny paradise, and then the interstate gave me a hard left turn to the left and the behemoth stared back at me.
First, there was wind. Wind so strong we all had to slow down. A semi in front of me was fucking wobbling back and forth, something I never like to witness and have rarely had to. Then the rain came. There wasn’t a single person near me on the highway that was going over 10mph. You couldn’t see, it was coming down so damn hard. I pull off on an exit I was near, and, along with about twenty other drivers, go and park my ass at a gas station and wait for Mother Nature to calm the fuck down.
As I waited, the rain got harder. I couldn’t see shit sitting at a standstill with my wipers going crazy. Blurry lights were all I could see to know that other vehicles were near me. I sat there for about thirty-minutes listening to the deafening hammering of rain pounding on every inch of my truck. Sirens begin to fill the air, with an apparent slowness to them. They were going somewhere, just not very fast. They couldn’t go very fast.
Suddenly, everything stopped. The rain, the wind, it was calm. Sunlight was peeking through again things were not too gloomy looking. So I began my journey again. I get off the exit and pull onto the interstate and I make it about a half-mile before I come upon everyone at a standstill and the behemoth charging straight towards us all. It got dark.
When I say it got dark, I mean it got dark. Darker than midnight and the sun was still hanging high in the sky. Somewhere. It was somewhere.
First came the hail. Quarter sized chunks of ice rained down upon us. The wind returned. Siri says, “hazard ahead” and my gps goes bye-bye along with all other forms of connectivity my phone should have. At this point my iPhone X has become the most expensive night-light I have ever used to seek some form of comfort. I feel my truck taking the wind and holding its ground the best a S-10 can. The hail stops and I have my last clear view to the outside world for about thirty-seconds as I watch a torrential downpour come rushing towards me.
My windows are a strange, aquatic, reddish work of living art. I can see nothing out of them, not even my back window. I hear rain and tree branches smashing into the road, my truck, the vehicles around me, all of them, thankfully, not big and sturdy enough to fuck us all up.
This goes on for an hour. I can’t see anything outside of my truck and the only light I have is from my phone and console. Occasionally I see parts of trees smashing into my windshield and passenger window. It was a symphony of chaos I couldn’t even drown out with the radio, because even that was now lost to me.
I was scared.
“Okay. I’m gonna die.” I said that to myself. Out loud. I then calmly sat there and waited.
It was one of the longest hour of my life.
Then, it ended. 8:35 pm, it ended. I could now see into the world again. The car to my left has its done light on and the full grown man sitting at the steering wheel is crying. The SUV in front of me has a family holding each other. Behind me a trucker has his amazed face near his windshield, looking around, not convinced it is over. A cop car drives down the side of the interstate.
We all sit there for two and a half more hours. Then we finally move and it was like driving down a road straight out of a disaster movie. I travel maybe ten-miles before I have to stop and compose myself.
I got home at 1:30 am. My dogs still at my parents house, so I couldn’t even have their happy faces welcome me home. I don’t unpack. I grab a beer out of my fridge and I sit on my couch and I drink it. In silence.
Four hours later, I went to work.
Soon I find myself hitting the thirty-six hour mark of being awake. I grabbed a bottle of NyQuil and I take a hardy swig.
I’m gonna go work on finishing The Breakup Trilogy: Part Two now.