543 Day Writing Journey

Crash. Day 150.

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“Why are you pulling over?” I asked Roger.

He didn’t answer, pulled over quickly, and got sick on the side of the road.

“Are you OK?” I asked.

“It was that rest stop Burger King,” he said. It really was terrible food that we all had in New Jersey. They ran out of buns and subbed it with a day-old croissant. He ate a few bites then tossed it.

“I’m sorry,” I said.

“I feel better.”

“Do you want me to drive the rest of the way?” I asked.

“No, I’m fine now.”

“Don’t fall asleep,” I said.

After an hour or two, I allowed my eyes to close, then heard Roger yell.

“Oh my God what’s happening?!”

“I fell asleep. I’m so sorry. I hit the Jersey barrier.”

The car stopped and Roger looked over his shoulder and checked for traffic. He opened his door, got out, and went to the back of our family vehicle, a brown 1995 Hyundai Elantra. He opened the trunk, took out the suitcases, the jack, and the spare tire donut.

While he did this, Tyler who was six at the time, Annie, our border collie mix, and I sat in the car on Interstate 91 in Connecticut, rattled. At the time, I was pregnant with Sammy, and we were going home to Massachusetts for Christmas.

Within minutes he had the tire changed and the old, mangled one back in the trunk, got back in and began to drive again. There was no traffic on the highway. It was midnight.

“I can’t believe I fell asleep. I could have killed us all,” Roger said. His eyes watered.

“You’re human,” I said.

Years later, I was able to tease him about it a little. Since then, though, I haven’t fallen asleep in a vehicle and I don’t think I ever will. Also, we pack our food now for road trips. No more Burger King croissant burgers.

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