it was night and it was raining

February 5th, 2024

I don’t know what might have caused my sister and me to be riding in the back of our ’57 Chevrolet, the light green sedan that my dad would drive for many more years. I don’t know how or where we found ourselves motoring slowly through a flooded street, water lapping in waves, into the dark ahead. I was afraid, that much I remember.

We pulled into a gas station. Was it so my dad could call my mom on the pay phone? We would be late. She would be worried. Was it to buy cigarettes or a beer? To ask for directions? Were we lost? Were we stuck? Would we make it? We didn’t say any of these things out loud. Inside the car, we didn’t move. Maybe we were told to sleep, and maybe we pretended we were.

When the rain is heavy the wipers don’t clear the windshield for long. You have to drive through the blindness until the blur is wiped away again. Seeing, not seeing, knowing, not knowing. You can learn this from the backseat on a rainy night, even if you’re only four or five.

Was this the first time I was truly afraid? Is that why I remember it? It would not be the last. There are so many ways to be afraid, and afraid even after. I am still afraid riding in a car. A curve taken too fast. The brake coming too slow. A foot on the pedal, faster, faster. Where are we going and why are we going like this?

I don’t say anything out loud.

My father got us home that night. That night he was a hero, a giant to little me. I should remember that. I should remember being safe, being carried home.

There are so many ways to be afraid, and only one way not to be afraid. By trusting what you can’t see. Going where you don’t know. Still and quiet in your seat, as the waves come and go.

Photo by C. G. on Unsplash



  1. I am confident that there are many ways not to be afraid. One of my favorites to concentrate on the moment, to look deeply, listen deeply, use all senses to try to take in the moment and the next and the one after that, on and on.

    Comment by Bill — February 6, 2024 @ 6:12 am

  2. Your very personal story is also a universal one — the way all great writing and storytelling is. I’m always very grateful to find your words, your quiet truth, and your friendship in my in-box. How well I understand the impulse to stay quiet, especially these days, which only makes me happier to see you here. Thank you for extending a hand. Here’s mine, reaching back. xo

    Comment by Katrina Lewers — February 8, 2024 @ 5:50 am

  3. 🙏

    Comment by Jim — May 2, 2024 @ 3:03 pm

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Leave a comment

archives by month