Bail out

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The girl punched the gas pedal to the floor and lunged forward.  Speed made her feel powerful and she laughed with delight.  She watched her brother standing where she had taken off from in the field.

He could never handle going this fast, she thought, as she raced through the path.

He was, in fact, thinking how much faster he would be able to drive the go-cart. 

He pondered the injustice of the situation and said to himself, “I should be test driving, she didn’t spend as much time putting it together as I did.”  

Why did she get to try it out first?  She was always doing things like that claiming it was her birth right.  Impatiently, he crossed his arms across his body and waited.

Her ponytail bounced up and down as she flew over the uneven terrain, throwing dirt clods and grass up into the air behind her.  She left the path and drove straight towards her brother, swerving at the last minute to miss him. 

“Hey, it’s my turn!” he yelled.

He stamped his foot down as he watched her laugh and drive back to the path.

The sun was high and bright in a clear sky that neither the boy nor the girl noticed.  It was warm with a gentle breeze that kept them from getting too hot.  It was the kind of a summer day that they wouldn’t truly appreciate for years to come.

The girl raced past her brother again, waving and laughing this time.  She waived with both hands and laughed.

“Look, no hands,” she yelled and stuck her tongue out at him.  

“No fair, it’s my turn,” he cried as he watched his sister zip past him for another loop on the path.

A mole hole caught one of the small tires and jostled the driver and go-cart sideways.  She stopped laughing and suddenly remembered why she felt so powerless.  It was like a jolt into her brain and heart at the same time.

Not now, she told herself.  She punched the gas and felt the sun on her face and shoulders.

This will be the last time that I will feel happy for a long time, she thought with absolute certainty.  She looked up at the sun and let its warmth rest on her face.  How could she know what was to come, she was impulsive and twelve, hardly the qualifications for a soothsayer or psychic.   

Something shuddered in the engine at the same time, cutting the speed in half and pulling the go-cart and its driver forward in lurches.  Her body jerked back and forth with the misbehaving machine.

The boy saw his opportunity to overtake the go-cart and ran towards the girl, “Get off, it’s my turn,” he demanded.  

His mouth dropped in angry shock when the go-cart lunged forward and then took off, faster than ever before.

“Slow down, you almost killed me,” the boy shouted.

“I’m not doing it!” the girl responded.

The steering wheel locked in place.  She slammed her foot onto the brake to find it slack, completely useless to stop her from hurtling into a grove of pine trees straight ahead.

“I can’t stop!” she screamed with terror in her voice.

Her brother sensed the urgency of his sister’s predicament and yelled, “Bail out.”

He watched his sister head directly for the trunks of several big and unmoving trees.

“Bail, bail, bail,” he shouted as his sister rattled forward towards her destiny, unable to hear her little brother’s pleas.  

Author’s note:

We must be able to recognize the right time to bail.  It’s not quitting, it’s merely surviving.  Sometimes, we are able to roll out to the soft grass of safety without any issues.  Yet, other times, we can’t bear the short term pain and end up smashing into the trunk of an unforgiving tree, bearing a much longer and more painful recovery.   Is it because we are too in love with the thrill to stop, too unaware to sense the danger, too lazy or afraid to make a change? It’s a funny thing that we are able to easily see the crash course that others set for themselves, but so often can’t see our own until we are right in front of a grove of trees and about to crash. 

Bail for yourself and for the love of those around you, don’t think about it, just bail.  

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. under-my-quilt
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 08:04:59

    Enjoyed this.Your authors note so true, I sort of pressed my own self destruction button in the 80’s,excellent note and good advice

    Reply

  2. eriklehman
    Jan 18, 2014 @ 19:06:19

    Such wonderful writing, and the story is captivating.

    Reply

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