9 PM was usually the time to take his meds but instead he was driving slowly westward on the interstate towards Fort Worth with both hands tightly gripping the steering wheel. The hard ice and falling snow made him anxious to finally meet his friend for a cordial drink after driving 30 miles. Alone in unknown territory, he cautiously steered the dark sedan slowly onto the exit ramp across the slush and ice to the traffic light intersection. Left or right? He wasn’t sure. Feeling lost, he continued straight on the service road which seemed to lead through darkness towards some distant lights which he assumed were retail beacons. Suddenly he realized the interstate was 40 feet higher on his left as his car continued descending alone on this desolate road. Cold fear rose from his feet to his head. Stay calm. Don’t panic. You’ll be OK. The headlights shined on the high dirt embankment that signaled the end of the road. He turned left under the interstate and came to a dead stop right beneath the cavernous concrete structure. If I get stuck down here, days could go by and no one would even know I was down here especially with the ice and snow accumulating. He inched the car back into the snowstorm with his wipers spreading slush across the windshield and the headlights searching for a way up and back onto the interstate.
He drove about a quarter mile and had to turn left again through another underpass and then left again only to realize he was back where he started. Panic was now racing through him without reservation. An endless circle seemed to steal his hope and courage. A different turn almost led him deep into a dark field. Had he not braked so quickly, the car would have run off the dead end and sunk to the axles in icy slushy mud and strangers might have found the snow-covered sedan in a week with its elderly captive frozen stiff and dead. Backing up agonizingly slowly with no rear view visibility, he headed back towards the dark cavernous underpass. Moving at a slow walk, the car eventually came out from the frightful underpass. A slow turn to the left aimed the black sedan parallel to the interstate. Dare he press the gas pedal and risk spinning tires? Yes yes. He felt the car try to fish tail but no matter. He was saving himself as he struggled to keep the car moving upwards on the entrance ramp back towards civilization. Finally leveling the car onto the interstate, the sheer panic subsided as he steered back towards Dallas and a warm dry bed in his own safe home. There’s no place like it!