He hit the wheel in a burst of frustration and slammed on the brakes. He'd been having trouble sleeping again. He spent the nights tossing and turning, pulling on his covers and throwing them off again. Nothing he tried worked. He drank tea and warm milk, read for an hour beforehand, and even tried these herbal supplements from the health store around the corner. Getting pills from the doctor wasn't an option. He couldn't go down that road again. He was seven months clean now, and things had taken a turn for the better. He was generally happy, and was able to save his house from foreclosure. It was just the evasive sleep. If it kept up, it was going to cost him his job.
A quick glance at his dashboard showed he was already five minutes late. The car in front of him was barely going 50.
It's called a "passing" lane for a reason.
He pushed the pedal a little further and swerved into the right lane, cutting off an SUV behind him in the process.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Oh god, I hope I get there in time.
He and his wife had been trying for years. They had almost given up and began to consider adoption. But they got lucky. She was having a girl, and they were going to name her Jayne. He got the call in the middle of a meeting. To the confusion of the board members, he nearly ran out the door without explanation. He was ecstatic, his mind racing. He thought about bringing her home to her newly decorated nursery. He thought about her first words and steps and birthday. He thought about reading her to sleep at night, and teaching her to play catch. He was happy with his life before, but he knew now that it would actually be complete.
I really hope I don't miss it…
He snapped out of his joyous delirium just in time to notice a car swerve out in front of him and hit the brakes.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~I'm sure she'll get in.
He was so proud of his little girl. She wasn't exactly little anymore, but he would always think of her that way. She was almost out of high school, and had applied to a prestigious college. The response would be coming in the mail any day now. She promised to call him as soon she got it, before she even opened it, so they could "open it together". He was busy driving a shipment across the country. They didn't have a lot of money, so he'd been taking extra jobs. He wanted the best for his girl; she was going to be the first in their family to get a degree. Making a quick right, he turned onto the main highway. A quiet ringing broke the constant rumbling of the diesel engine, and a quick rummage through the fast food wrappers on the passenger seat produced his phone. He glanced at the caller ID and flicked it open.
"You better open that envelope fast. I've been waiting all week."
As his eyes returned to the road, he saw the car in front of him come to a sudden stop. He did his best to follow in suit.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~"Where's Ray?" he said, quickly jumping out the back of a screeching ambulance.
"Probably sleeping. The man's been late almost every day this week."
They walked over to a crumbled wreckage, faintly reminiscent of an SUV, intertwined with the front end of a diesel truck. It was hard to distinguish the point where the one ended and the other began.
"He was DOA," the cop said, turning towards them.
"What a bad way to start the morning."