Trepidation filled the car as fast as the ice crystals pelted the windshield. It felt like the road was slipping away beneath us. A layer of darkness had fallen, yet it was not night. We had no choice but to be on this menacing road. Little did we know our vacation would end this way.
My parents, sisters and I spent April Fools weekend visiting with family in Buffalo, New York. That afternoon as we said our good-byes, we stepped in the car anticipating a three and a half hour drive home. Soon, the graceful, glistening sparkles became monstrous rocks shot from the sky. The steady beat of the windshield wipers rapidly increased. Dark, ominous clouds hung above us, dumping tons of snow, which heaped over the road. We exited the freeway and pulled into the nearest parking lot.
We left the icy weather for the warmth of the restaurant. My dad anxiously called my uncle, back in Buffalo, to check the radar. “They are predicting two feet of snow in the next six hours. You are welcome to stay with us another night if you want to turn around,” my dad repeated as it came through the receiver.
“I have to get back home for work tomorrow, and the girls have school” my dad stated. With that, everyone moped back to the car. The wind whipped against my face and my hands froze to the door handle. I stepped inside and laid my head against the ice cold glass, waiting. My dad slowly continued cautiously at thirty miles per hour.
My mom screamed, “Look out! Look behind us!” Instantaneously, I whisked my head around to see the catastrophe. A car swerved out of control, spinning at great speed. It came within feet of us as my dad tried to avoid it. The Ford Explorer curved continuously trying to regain direction. Instead, it fell off the side of the highway and down the hill, disappearing into the white.
We proceeded onward for hours, inch by inch. In the distance, cars were parked along the road for miles. We parked behind them, and someone came up to our car informing us a jackknifed truck blocked the road. After endless waiting, traffic began moving. As we passed the Ohio border, the snow let up and the clouds moved just enough to allow us to see the awe-inspiring sunset. Radiant reds and violets painted the sky, and the light filled the car with a sense of peacefulness.
At the end of our journey, when we found ourselves amidst the familiar sights of our neighborhood, we felt unbelievably relieved. The few hour ride home grew into an incessant ten hour ordeal. Three years later, I still remember this as if it happened yesterday. I learned to be persistent, yet cautious. Those that hastily drove ended up in a ditch. I will always remember this experience, especially when I begin driving soon.
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