BARELY DOING FORTY
“You’re driving too fast.”
The car splashed through the puddles dotting the road. Andrea’s hand hovered over the door handle as the sedan sped down the leaf strewn lane.
Bob rolled his eyes. “I’m barely doing forty,” he countered.
Andrea’s attention was divided between the road and the speedometer needle on the dashboard, but Bob’s reaction did not escape her notice.
“Looks like forty-five from where I’m sitting,” she muttered. “Either way, the speed limit is thirty-five — in ideal conditions, not during a torrential downpour.”
The wipers slapped the windshield, one soggy leaf trapped beneath a blade. It left a smeary trail directly at eye level with every pass. On the radio, Eddie Money promised his lover two tickets to paradise. Bob hooked the car into a sharp turn, causing the rear tires to drift as the car began to hydroplane. Andrea sucked air over her teeth and gripped the door handle.
“What? What is it now?”
“You did that on purpose.”
“Yes, Andrea, I made it rain on purpose. Now you know my terrible secret: I can control the weather, and instead of joining the fight to stop global warming, I’m channeling my awesome power into a sinister scheme to irritate you.” Bob slowed to a rolling stop at a four way intersection, and then continued on after a cursory glance down the intersecting road. “Guilty as charged.”
Andrea pressed her lips together and looked out the window. Round bales of hay sat in the fields. A small herd of cows grazed in the distance, oblivious to the drenching rain. Eddie Money implored the object of his affection to pack her bags so they could leave tonight. Andrea rubbed her temples, trying to ignore a growing headache.
Bob’s outburst shocked her into awareness. Andrea felt the car drift as the rear tires pulled the vehicle into an arc, graceful as a spinning ballerina. An unnatural calm seized her. She watched with detachment as Bob struggled to maneuver the car out of its slide. The tires skated over the wet asphalt, skidding to an abrupt stop on the muddy embankment.
Bob turned an ashen face to Andrea.
“I’m fine,” Andrea answered, “just confused, I think.”
Bob quirked an eyebrow at her.
“I mean — how could this happen? You were barely doing forty.” She shrugged her shoulders. “Go figure.”