As I cruised past the “Mile 66” sign on the road, the metal briefly, brightly illuminated in the haze of falling snow by the glow from my headlights, I fumed silently, my hands gripping the wheel.
Who did that whore think that she was? How dare she throw me out of her house, as if I was just another bit of garbage? She may be going through her midlife crisis, I thought furiously to myself, but that gave her no right to get rid of me, her long-suffering husband.
Sure, I had given her a bit of hassle, over the years. Even I had to admit that we weren’t always the perfect couple, sometimes getting into fights. And back in my younger days, when I was still a heavy drinker, I may have even gotten physical once or twice. But never anything serious – I’d never inflicted anything worse than a bruise. And since I’d sworn off the hard stuff, I had gotten much better.
My headlights caught another sign, this one flashing by the side of the car before I could read it. It was just another momentarily bright blur in the darkness, like me. I knew that I still had a few more miles of driving before I reached the turn-off for the cheap motel that was my current destination. Even in my current state, I was still plenty capable of operating my car. And I was used to these roads – their ice didn’t bother me, and I could drive through the heavy, silently falling snow.
And, damn it, it was my car! Just like it was my house, my life, that I had worked hard to build. And Sara, that insufferable woman, had fit into the plan at first. She had been young, blonde, pretty, the perfect lady to hang off my arm at parties, to dazzle my bosses with her smile and wit, to rub against my body in the bedroom.
At first, it had all seemed to work out. She had been everything that I had wanted, had hoped for, and more. But maybe it had been too perfect. She had been smart, too smart. She took away my liquor, stood up to me when I confronted her about it, didn’t back down like a woman was supposed to. I’d had to hit her. There hadn’t been any other choice.
Another sign appeared. This time, I was able to have my eyes up, to read it. “Mile 66,” it read. I blinked a couple times. Hadn’t I passed that one before? I tried to remember, but my head was fuzzy. I shrugged and kept on going forward. Mile 66 meant that I wasn’t there yet.
Tonight . . . tonight, things had boiled over. All I had wanted was a couple of beers, after work, but that damn woman had come in. I had tried to cop a feel, show her that I was in the mood, but not only did she shoot me down, but she started yelling at me, not relenting. All sorts of crap. I wasn’t what she had married, she wanted a real life, I didn’t care about her – all of it crap.
The next road sign, approaching. This time, I made sure to slow down, braking cautiously on the snowy road. “Mile 66,” the sign read. But this time, I knew that I had passed this sign, had driven more than a mile!
I looked down at the odometer. Last time I’d checked the car, it had been sprouting eighty-something thousand miles. I didn’t remember the exact number. But now, it had almost all been rolled back to zeros. “2”, the counter read.
A tremor of fear, a strange and barely recognized feeling, suddenly wormed its way in through the anger. Steering back into the road, I floored the accelerator, shooting down the middle of the street. It didn’t take long, maybe ten minutes, until another sign was visible behind the wall of falling snow. I made sure to slow down carefully, staring out at it. “Mile 66,” I read off.
I looked back down at the odometer. “3”…