Here’s what happened: we were driving into Kansas from the northeast. Or were we still in Indiana? Tornado alley, that’s certain, late summer 2009. All afternoon the sky was lightening and darkening in washes. (You flew to where I was to help me move to your town in Colorado, driving my little life across country. We were driving, it was September, we’d known each other two months). On the loneliest highway yet another brush dragged across the lower atmosphere and then we were skirting a tornado. Two exhausted people and an old black cat named Professor Fang. Maybe it was seven o’clock when the sky became pitch black and pouring rain, pounding rain, I’d been driving for just an hour (you drove the most of that day, you’re the better driver) and the semi-trucks still barreled past our Ford Escort at 90, 100 miles an hour. Too much water to see a road sign or more than ten feet ahead. It was darker than a starless night on Cape Cod, darker than the bottom of the ravine at the edge of the edge of the town I grew up in. The GPS saved our lives? Possibly. Its feminine voice (she was Australian, our navigation avatar) told us where to turn off for a Super 8. We pulled up and waited a half an hour to check in; many weary travelers ahead of us. The Professor slept through the whole thing, in his wicker basket in the back seat. How long would I have driven, chewing coffee beans chewing Altoids, driving slower than the trucks but faster than safe and the water, sheets of lakes, falling onto the roof and through my door which leaked. But the Australian lady spoke, said, turn here for sanctuary and we did.
In the morning we made waffles in the lobby where an old biker was still shivering from the storm the day before.