“The National Weather Service has issued a blizzard warning for the northern Illinois and northwest Indiana…Twelve to eighteen inches are expected in northwest Indiana and ten to sixteen inches in northern Illinois… Travelers should seek shelter and lodging as soon as possible. Winds will increase throughout the night to forty miles per hour. Temperatures will fall near zero degrees with wind chills nearing sixty below. State Road--,” Sam pushes in the CD on the player. Damn. He selects a track and the first chords of Pink Floyd’s “Wish You Were Here” begins to play.
Diana peers backward through the rearview mirror for a moment as the rear wiper sweeps off the heavy snow. The handsome guy behind looks annoyed. Probably heard the dreadful forecast. Only one mile to go, she gratefully thinks. A bit of relief comes in the form of a brief smile. But sadness weighs inside, for others, who have long journeys ahead in an unrelenting snowfall.
She looks over her right shoulder to see that the guy behind her has hit her Civic. She stops the car, puts it in park, unfastens her seatbelt and proceeds to get out of the car. He is all ready out.
“It’s ok. Probably there isn’t even a mark,” Diana adds.
“Yeah, but I shouldn’t be such a goof. I’m from Minnesota and should know better how to drive on this stuff.” Sam looks down into Diana’s brown eyes and sees true innocence and striking beauty in that brief moment.
“Well I used to be from Iowa, but I still can’t get the hang of snow driving. First snow, anyways. You know how people are, they forget after seven months without it,” Diana tilts her head up slightly towards Sam and feels something too.
“Maybe you’re right.” Then, they both glance awkwardly down at the bumper that has a softball size dent in it.
Sam hesitates, then says,”I feel so bad. Hey, I could buy you a cup of coffee at the next exit and we can handle this?”
“I am getting off there anyways,” Diana says.
“I thought you were from Iowa?”
“I was. My folks passed away---”
“Oh, I’m sorry---”
“Hey! Lovebirds!” A rude middle age man yells from behind Sam’s car. “Move your ass! The highway is all ready a winter fucked-up wonderland!” He revs the engine in park on the 99’ Corvette, while the window shoots up.
“Ok, Ok,” Sam places his hand out in an easy-does-it manner to the old prick. Diana looks over at the angry man with a small bit of contempt painted on her face, but them turns back to Sam, unflustered once again.
“Well, I’ll meet you at the next exit. There’s a Grandma’s close by to the right.”
“Sure, I’ll be there. You don’t have to pay for a thing. I’ll take care of you.”
Diana blushes slightly, “You will?” Sam stumbles out, “I mean--”
“I know what you meant.” she smiles.
“What’s your name?”
“Diana.” They shake hands for a prolonged second. The snowflakes seem to stand still. A piece of the hidden sun finds the interstate around them in a spotlight. The remaining souls sit in idle, while they proceed onward.
They both head back to their cars and make the long journey one mile down the interstate. It takes twenty minutes to drive to Grandma’s restaurant.