The other day I had a flash, a memory—and it still brings a chill over me. It’s one of those nightmare memories, along the lines of standing next to your high school locker naked. I needed help moving and a friend loaned me his car—just one tiny problem: it was a stick shift. Like a normal twenty-year old, I thought this wasn’t going to be a problem. I loaded up the vehicle and told myself, All I have to do is get out of first and I’m rolling. It took me an hour just to get out of the driveway.
On the roadway (I remember now it wasn’t a highway, but a very busy divided road—much like Far Hills Ave.) all I wanted to do was cruise. Not have to stop for a red light. Which might have worked had I not had to go about 8 miles.
Eventually I did have to stop. I can still feel the terror come over me as I stalled out and, in my anxiety and fluster, was unable to get the car into gear. Either I would be rear-ended or towed, and none of these ideas appealed to me. I started, jerked, and tried again to figure out how to shift.
All around me cars were honking. I know, I know, I wanted to scream. Until at a certain point I realized drivers were also pointing, vigorously stabbing their fingers. Huh? I looked in the rear view mirror to see clothes and boxes strewn across the lanes. Ohhhhh.
I must’ve forgotten to close the hatch.
On a scale of one to ten, I was a twelve for stress that morning. I parked right there and got out and began gathering my things. Dashing here and there, collecting whatever I could.
I eventually made it to my new apartment and called the car’s owner to come get it. I was in no shape to return it. Afterwards, I recall putting on a blouse that had tire marks on it, and reliving that moment, stuck in between gears.
Write right now—what’s your go-to horror story? That moment you don’t want to remember, but can’t seem to forget.