Helpless On Mississippi Highway 6

Corinne's wrecked car

My wrecked car. Photo by DB

(Clarksdale, Mississippi) 

The beat of a heart or the flutter of a bird’s wings, things we expect to happen in the blink of an eye. What significance does one second of the day out of 86,400 have? It may claim ownership of a kiss on the cheek, the flash of a camera or one single breath, but who knew one second could possess all that is you. I didn’t.

It was like a dream. Almost like watching a movie of my life on fast forward. Not one thing left out. Every memory and aspiration that had once consumed my thoughts were all there, vividly flashing through my mind as my car spun out of control. With each violent twist and tumble came a new thought and sensation. Helpless, being slung like a boomerang down Highway 6, all I could do was think.

All my senses were alive and thriving like never before. My eyes widened with shock and disbelief as I saw the gap between the single white line and my windshield closing rapidly without hesitation, the breath in my lungs was taken from me by the airbag’s mighty blow, and tears flooded my eyes as my window’s glass crumbled against my cheek. I recognized the fear and I felt the pain but their intensity was weakened by the strength of my thoughts.

After a wreck, most people recall the thought of death taking over their mind during the turmoil. Death never crossed my mind. Ignoring the fact that in most cases life after such tragedy was slim, I knew I would be okay. This didn’t put me at peace. A part of me never wanted the wreck to end for fright of what would happen after. But it did.

When the remains of what once was my car finally came to a stop, I searched for my phone in panic. After a few moments of searching I found my phone underneath the passenger seat, stepped out of the car, and called my mother. As the phone rang and tears streamed down my face I stared at the damage I had just created with disbelief and shame. What had I done?

While I was being thrown around inside my car, the thoughts that had taken the place of death were “My new car is destroyed,” and “How could I do this to my mom.” I was so worried about destroying my car and troubling my mother financially that death didn’t even matter. Was my car really more important to me than my own life?

As my mother was on her way to Ole Miss in Oxford I was scared and worried about what she might think and her disappointment in me. As she opened the door to the apartment I was in, my breathing quickened and tears flooded my eyes rapidly. Bracing myself for her angry speech I turned my eyes to the ground. Only she didn’t greet me with a stern face. She cried with me and held me in her arms like she had the first time I wrecked my bike. She kissed my face and thanked the Lord I was alive. I apologized repeatedly for what I had done and every time she replied, “The car doesn’t matter, all I care about is that you are okay.”

I am alive, and for this Christmas that is all I need. God gave me the best present I could have hoped for and that’s the future I have ahead of me.

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  1. Madge is a good Mom!!!

  2. I enjoyed reading this. I remember one night long ago when Dan Crumpton told a story about when he wrecked his jeep late at night on a lonely Mississippi road and when the car stopped spinning the only thing he heard was the eight-track tape player still playing in the dash “More than a Feeling” by Boston.

  3. And what a feeling it was….

  4. Material things cannot even stand compared to the beautiful life you have. Merry Christmas to you Corinne, and your family.

  5. Christopher…we are all blessed indeed. Glory! Thank you and Merry Christmas to you and your family!

  6. What a wonderful description of such a traumatic event… Thank the Good Lord that you are with us this Christmas and for many more to come!!! It sounds like we have a budding & very talented author in our family… The way you described the night and your Loving Mother brought tears to my eyes…

    We All Love You Very Much,

    Have a Happy & SAFE New Year tonight…

    Uncle Bo

  7. Corinne Vance says:

    Sorry it has taken me so long to reply to all your comments! It was by far one of the most eye opening experiences i have encountered! Sometimes we get so wrapped up in the little things it blinds us from what’s most important! Love the things in your life that didn’t come with a price tag, because they are the best present you could ask for…..and you can’t return them haha 😉

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