Several miles outside of Nashville’s city limits, an early autumn night had fallen. Promises of book festivals and cupcake ATMs danced merrily in my head as I came upon a sign.
“CURVE AHEAD,” it warned, “60 MPH.”
I hit the curve with a fully-loaded semi diagonally in front of me.
“Sixty miles per hour,” I snorted, “more like eighty–oop, oop, shit, yeah, okay, definitely sixty.” I released the gas and gently applied the break as the descent quickly evolved into a breakneck curve looping around the pitch-black mountainside. Nothing was visible, except the road immediately in front of me, and the tail lights of the now slightly fish-tailing semi ahead.
I slowed down some more.
The semi responded by increasing the severity of its weaving. I coasted to forty–uncertain, wanting to check my BPM on my Fitbit, but too nervous to do so.
The hill started to even out and we reached a bridge.
“Okay, now we should be good.”
The truck’s tires started to lift off the ground as it waggled back and forth.
“Uh-uh-uh,” it chided, “we’re not out of the woods yet!” I imagined it laughing at its own shitty joke as I began to look for a shoulder to pull onto, should the (increasingly likely) need arise. Instead, I was greeted with concrete walls and the darker, somehow emptier abyss of the river below.
“This is it,” I thought, “this is how I fucking die.” I shook myself. “Stop being dumb. I’ll be fine.”
We began to reach the far side of the bridge, the truck still waggling, rocking, shaking.
As we rounded the final curve, a billboard came into view. Lit from below, it was the only thing visible outside of my little bubble of asphalt and brightly-lit impending doom to the right. Large, black letters stamped across the front declared my fate:
“PREPARE TO MEET THY GOD.”
Fuck, I hate night driving.