M is for Mulholland.
It was a year and half ago, 3 a.m. There was fog on Mulholland, but not enough to be exciting.
On my way home from outings and gatherings, I always took Mulholland when I needed to ease my late night angst.
There, I saw a coyote around a bend. Coyotes at the side of the road had taken on special meaning ever since I found out that S. had died. So I slowed down.
As I passed it, I stared at the coyote and the coyote stared at me, which seemed to be the way with them. I stopped and reversed, but as soon as I reached it, it ran away. That seemed to be their way too.
I drove on toward home, remembering someone had told me to accelerate into the turns on winding roads. This was not possible on hairpin curves.
Mulholland is not wavy; it’s kinky.
For my musical selection, I had on Metric because I was late to the Metric game, or because my aged car didn’t have an MP3 port and I’d been listening to the same six CDs for two years.
Or, maybe it was just my way of holding on to the person who had introduced me to Metric in the first place.
Back then, I was already in the grey area with the Perfect Man, who had nothing to do with my music choices. We weren’t together, but we weren’t not together. He was my platonic boyfriend.
Those thoughts had been turning over in my head for months like the CDs on rotation.
When I reached nearly the bottom of Mulholland, my car suddenly seized up. Acceleration, power steering and brakes ceased to exist.
On the empty road, while in neutral, I struggled with the steering wheel until I maneuvered the car to the side of the road. Facing downhill, I used the emergency brake to stay put.
Is that what happened when you ran out of gas?
I called the Perfect Man to find out.
Yes, he said. And true to the daily savior he was to me, at 3 a.m., he set out to drive the 25 miles with a gallon of gas.
By then I should’ve been in the comfort of my home, but I wasn’t. Having drunk an inordinate amount of water, I had no choice but to leave my car and brave the brush. The cars below on the 101 South whizzed past with their headlights. They were close enough to be egged by someone with good aim.
I didn’t care how close they were. I cared that the liters of water I had drunk wanted out.
I climbed up rocks, just to be out of the way, but didn’t go too far in because who knew what rattlesnakes and mountain lions loitered about. I positioned myself behind the biggest tree I could find, which was about the width of my body, and it happened to have a streetlamp shining on it.
I didn’t care; it was too late for niceties.
Between my empty tank and full bladder rendering my bottom half naked in the wilderness of Mulholland, the gods must have been incensed at two dumb failures in judgment yet to yield results. Why else, when I got back to my car to wait for the Perfect Man, would an unknown man ride up on his bicycle and tap my window?
The sadistic gods held their breaths as I reached for the door handle.
You might ask why I would reach for it, and as I opened the door to the melodic creaking of no return, I asked it of myself. My judgment clearly had an addiction to demerits.
The man on the bicycle, whose helmet shone a spotlight on me, could’ve been a concerned passerby or nighttime killer. I opened my door because I opted to believe the former.
In essence, I was betting my life on it.
While I hadn’t outgrown stupidity, in the end, the good luck that had spared me of past assault and dismemberment through many unsound choices since teenagehood seemed intact too.
Decide for yourself, reader, which conclusion would be more disappointing—anticlimax or injury:
Below is my audio account of the encounter, recorded while I was waiting in my locked car for the Perfect Man to arrive and save me.
Thank you, Jesus.
~ Part of the A to Z Challenge ~
A post a day except Sunday for the month of April to cover topics beginning with each letter of the alphabet. Events always real, names always changed.
Cathartic Monkeyism returns in May.
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