I drove my boyfriend’s hearse for the first time, a white Cadillac with smooth suspension, heavy and wide. The traffic light turned red. I pressed the brakes and the hearse slid forward over butter slick ice. It hit the car in front. That one hit the one in front of it. We glided into the intersection, then gathered in a parking lot. Faces peered through the steamed windows of the car I had hit. Teenagers; one in a neck brace. It was the kids from the big accident the week before. The impact had thrown them yards from the car.

I plied him with tequila until we ended up kissing in the rain against a huge tree trunk. I kept saying I was really wet. I meant the rain. He thought I meant I was really wet. We started a long-distance love affair, southern Virginia to Philadelphia. I would drive eight hours to see him. I said I wished we didn’t live so far away. He said maybe that was why he started things. He broke it off by phone. The worst ice storm in two decades hit Virginia. I scraped the ice off my windshield with my credit card.

Skiers clumped in the path ahead, so I stopped. A moose grazed by the trail. A rustle from the other side: the baby. Up the hill, another group of skiers stood. A threshold we could not cross lay between us. We all waited. A skate-skier in pink Lycra crested the hill with a dog. They shot between the moose and her baby. The moose charged. The skate-skier sped away. The moose bore down on me. Her hooves pounded in explosions of ice; the ground quaked. I fell sideways, my face buried in the snow. Her hooves missed me by inches.

​One man jackknifed off the dam and another dove. They swam to the edge of the river to go again. The next day, I balanced on the rail, prepared to dive. The water rushed below. I jumped instead, plummeted down. The rock sent a shock wave through my legs and spine. I swam to the edge and walked up the bank, my leg numb and covered in blood. My mother found me. She and a strange man made a basket out of their hands and carried me to the car. He apologized for the onions on his sandwich at lunch.

                                                                                                              Reprinted from The Other Room, January 2012