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Guest Blog from my student Wendy Price

Everything is sometimes too much

Oh God, I feel sick. It hurts my brain to think. Thank God my boss allowed me to cut my day short. Last night’s company Christmas party didn’t end as early as we had planned I think he was just as hung over as I am. Its times like these I really hate my 50 minute commute. Finally, I see the exit off interstate 83 for Yocumtown Road. My fingers loosen their grip on the steering wheel as now I feel hopeful I will make it home before spewing out the window. This feeling doesn’t last long however before my stomach starts heaving. My face turns yellow; a few shades paler than the color of my ford thunderbird. The thunderbird skates through the first bend anticipating the short dip that I know lies ahead. As I guide the bird across the bridge a memory sneaks up on me. I try to imagine Randy’s thoughts as he went flying through the air. What it must have sounded like when he and this bird landed up in that tree. If I wasn’t so sick my smile would have turned into a laugh.

I thought Randy would divorce me for sure after that night. We had met for drinks with friends and we decided to race home. I was in Randy’s truck feeling very powerful and determined. Rain drops intermittingly were hitting the windshield not enough to warrant the use of wipers just yet when we came up on the infamous bridge. How it was considered a bridge was beyond me. It was literally two car lengths long and half as wide. Because it was positioned low at the bottom of the hill, if you went too fast through the dip it would feel like you were about to lift off. With Randy in front of me and just a few seconds from home when we reached the bridge I knew he was going to win. With no preemptive thought other than, “oh no you don’t” my foot slammed heavy on the gas passing Randy on the left. As I cut the wheel sharp to the right I knew I didn’t have a clear shot but I didn’t care I cut in front of him anyway. I had to win, for some reason that’s all that mattered. Just as quickly as when I cut the steering wheel the trucks ass end swiped the bird’s front driver side and sent Randy fishtailing. He completely lost control taking out a neighbor’s mailbox along the way before fishtailing his ass end right up a tree. I’ll never forget the trucks headlights bouncing through the mist, the drizzle at some point became a midnight shower. I sat there waiting for the downpour as the few neighbors we had all came outside one by one standing in their bathrobes and slippers with their mouths wide open witnessing Randy climb down from the tree. There was no way that car was going anywhere. Randy told me to stay in the truck and he would handle the cops. Luckily, it was a female cop. After Randy passed the dui test she asked him what the hell we were doing that he ended up in a tree. For once, Randy decided to tell the truth. We were playing a game whoever reached home first got whatever they wanted in the bedroom that night. After she got done laughing she simply wrote Randy a citation for driving too fast for conditions and somewhere in the middle of her scolding she advised we retire from racing. I was so scared Randy was going to be hauled off or worse yet…that he would hate me, my guilt already consuming me.

My pounding head and nauseous stomach unwittingly brings me back to the present as I see Randy’s truck parked sideways in our front lawn. I put the bird in park and leave it perched at the top of our driveway my stomach immediately wants to heave again. This time not necessarily from my over indulgence the night before.

Breathing deeply I am overwhelmed with a sense of foreboding. My intuition smacks me in the face as I stand staring at the front door unable to move. My hand stops shy of the door knob, hesitant to grab and turn it. Finding any excuse not to enter, I stand there and observe the land surrounding our small tin can. There’s one house to the right a good two acres away. Our landlords’ daughter and her family live there. I never see them much or anyone really. Our place of residence is old and small the attached garage made of cinder blocks makes it unique, it being larger than the whole trailer. If a tornado came somehow you knew the garage would still be standing. Randy talked me into renting it so we could save for a house. I’ve been told I’m pretty adaptable. I question whether this is a good thing.

Behind our two bedroom trailer sits acres of un-groomed land where weeds and grass grow tall. Across the street the same view. Down the hill from which I came is where the area is developing. Randy works just two minutes away as a supervisor for a garage that handles nothing but diesel trucks, the big rigs. Maybe he came home for lunch. My stomach heaves again.

The front door of the trailer lines up with our bathroom door. As you face our front door our bedroom is to the immediate left which leads into the garage. This is the only entrance to the garage from the inside. The garage houses our washer and dryer among many other things. The back door in the garage leads to our back yard and then to the un-groomed field. To the right of the front door and down a hall way, which is so narrow you subconsciously stay on a continuous diet for fear of getting stuck, are Jessica’s bedroom, then the living room and then the kitchen. All though you could be standing outside, all these rooms are so extremely small you can hear everything going on inside the trailer. Everything… is sometimes too much.

Gaining courage, I finally grab the door knob, turn and pull. The door stops abruptly as the chain pulls tight. What the hell is the chain doing on the door at 1:30 in the afternoon? Oh please God no, please tell me I’m not hearing the frantic rustling, the squeaking bed, the bathroom door slamming shut. Please tell me I’m not agonizing over the minutes that feel like hours, that when he finally answers the door I’m not witnessing the panicked expression on his face, his shirt unbuttoned, his shoes off. That I’m not hearing his fearful, desperate plea to please give him five minutes. Please tell me that I’m not feeling the cracking of my heart.

My mouth hangs open in disbelief. I am unable to move as he closes the front door and leaves me standing there. Is he ever going to let me in? Is she sneaking out the back? So this is what eternity feels like…the door finally opens. Randy’s trying to talk to me but all I see is his mouth moving. No words reach my ears. What the hell is going on? Everything is in slow motion. Wading through the hallway my feet dredging through muck, the wood paneling and dark carpet suddenly look cheap, dull and ancient. As I suspect they always did through different eyes. I reach the living room and there she sits, smoking a cigarette her eyes unable to hide the guilt. An array of dust particles dance above her head swirled with smoke. Randy manages somehow to maneuver me into the garage. I think he’s swearing to me that it’s not what it looks like. Suddenly my tears flow, I’m so tired, I’m so sick. Please God tell me the vibration reverberating through my chest isn’t my heart shattering into itty bitty pieces…please God tell me I’m not experiencing everything… the everything that is sometimes too much.

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"Because of Tammy I have found confidence in my writing and feel blessed to be honored in such a way. I have found my voice. I have found freedom! I recommend anyone for whatever reason to expand their life and sign up for her writing workshops or classes. You'll be amazed at how good you are and how everyone has a story worth telling. Sign up and set your voice free!"
Wendy Price, Palm Desert, CA

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Tammy L. Coia is an AWA Affiliate, certified to lead workshops in the AWA method as described in Writing Alone & With Others by Pat Schneider, Oxford University Press.


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