There’s nothing worse than trying to drive through a storm. Well, in the early 2000s I tried to drive through a storm from Tupelo, MS to Jackson, MS down a highway on which I’d never driven in my life. Of course, the fact that I’d never driven down that highway didn’t really matter. Familiarity doesn’t matter when you can’t see five feet in front of you. Heart health does matter in that situation, however. Wowsers!
As I approached the vehicle, my worst fear began to be realized. There was someone in the car who was seriously injured. He was moaning and there was lots of blood. Already on edge, shaking vigorously, I was freaking out.
A Storms a Coming
I was visiting my sister’s home in Tupelo, MS. I spent a few days there, just hanging out. I was supposed to leave the next day, but for some reason I decided I needed to leave that night. Back then I was single and changing my mind on a whim was not uncommon, even for a planner like myself. In my early 20s however, checking the weather before driving three hours to a destination (home in this case) was an afterthought. On this particular evening, there was indeed inclement weather between myself and home. My guess is, if I had looked at the radar, the storm would have stretched from the top of the state (of Mississippi) to the bottom of the state and would have been slow moving or very wide.
I’m Going to Die
As I began my journey down Highway 45 around 7pm on a weeknight, south bound, in the east most reaches of Mississippi, in the middle of nowhere essentially, I realized I had made a grave mistake. At that time in my life, I was not a fan of bad weather, but I was in a hurricane! Not really. It felt like a hurricane. Objects were flying by me, all around. The rain was pouring down in sheets, relentlessly. The wind was frantic, blowing in all directions. My speed of 30 mph in this 60 mph zone felt reckless! My blood pressure was rising. My heart was thumping, seemingly out of my chest. Several times my speed slowed to below 20 mph. Visibility was almost non-existent. This was the worst. I was in trouble. I was scared and my nerves were on edge. Was this to be how I died? Would I drive off a cliff? It didn’t look good.
Through the Storm
Six hours later I arrived in Jackson, MS. What should have been a 3 hour drive had turned into a 6 hour nightmare. My nerves remained on edge and I was very tired. Even though the rain continued to fall steadily, I felt as if I had emerged from the storm unscathed. Boy was I wrong. I was only in the midst of utter chaos that would soon send my nerves over the edge. Now back in Jackson, MS, as I drove northbound on Interstate 55, I approached the bridge where Fortification Street crossed the interstate. There was a car under the bridge that had swerved off the road and hit one of the bridge pillars. The car was busted up pretty good and the wreck seemed fresh. I felt called to pull over and stop under the bridge and check it out. As I approached the vehicle, my worst fear began to be realized. There was someone in the car who was seriously injured. He was moaning and there was lots of blood. Already on edge, shaking vigorously, I was freaking out. As I got right up to the man, I spoke to him, but his response was incoherent. This was bad. I called 911 on my phone and called for an ambulance. As I hung up the phone with the operator, I realized there was nothing I could do for this man. He was wedged in pretty tightly, bleeding, and essentially unresponsive.
Another man had stopped. He seemed to handle these types of situations a little better than I did. He spoke to the man, then pulled me aside away from the vehicle to chat. It was hard to hear because it was raining so hard. I didn’t think things could get worse, at least for me emotionally at this point, but I was wrong. As the stranger and I stood, under the bridge at the edge of the pounding rain, discussing what to do next, a deafening strike of powerful lightning struck, merely 50 feet from us, although it felt like it right next to us. It knocked us both to the ground. As I picked myself up off the ground, now lying face down out in the pouring rain, stunned, startled, and scared, I shook vigorously. I was cold. I was frightened. The evening was reaching fictitious levels, but the night was not finished with me.
Now fully naked and not concerned about it one bit, I bolted for my bedroom and grabbed my taser. I then moved along the wall slowly, taser in hand, whipping around corners, ready to deny her strike.
The Call is Coming From Within the House
Once I heard the ambulance approaching, I walked slowly back to my car in disbelief of how this evening had gone and I drove to my 4-plex which was less than a mile away near Belhaven College in Jackson, MS. As I walked to my door I was frazzled to put it lightly. The night was eerie as storms continued to pass over. I felt completely insecure. As I walked in my home and into my bedroom, another massive lightning strike hit near me and the resulting thunder felt as if it was in the room with me. The night continued to haunt me and it would get worse! My attempt to drink a glass of water was unsuccessful. I was simply shaking too violently. Freezing cold and scared, I started a warm shower in hopes that it would calm me. It certainly warmed me up, but as I exited the shower, a frightening chill covered me and sent chill bumps up my spine.
A pair of women’s panties, which were not there before I got in the shower, were lying in the middle of my bathroom floor. Immediately I went from startled to numb. “She’s in my home! She’s going to kill me!”, I said to myself, referring to my ex-girlfriend. She and I had a nasty break-up the previous year and I feared she would come after me at some point. This was my reality and now, she had come into my home, taunted me with her panties, and was ready to strike with a serrated knife strike to my gut. Yes, in that moment I played the entire murder in my head. “In my struggle and confusion, I must have left my door unlocked and she slipped right in”, I regrettably admitted to myself.
Now fully naked and not concerned about it one bit, I bolted for my bedroom and grabbed my taser. I then moved along the wall slowly, taser in hand, whipping around corners, ready to deny her strike. Honestly, who was I kidding? What was I gonna do? After what seemed like a 30 minute sweep of my 400 square foot home, I came to the conclusion that she was only sending me a message and that she had slipped out as easily and mysteriously as she slipped in. Once I was able to get my heart rate down, I fell asleep and slept like a baby that night. What an evening!
You Got Jokes
A few weeks later I was at my grandmother’s house. To save money, sometimes I would let my grandmother do my laundry for me. It was nice because not only was I saving money, but she would fold my clothes for me too.
As I visited with my grandmother and chatted about deep and amazing things (as we often did), she looked over at me, smiled, and said, “So, did you find the panties?”. Like something out of a horror film, I went numb. I knew what she was talking about, but I was so confused. All I could respond with was the shaking of my head “no” and repeating the letter “I” over and over. She then admitted to having hid a pair of “sexy panties” from when she was younger in between two bathroom towels in a previous load of laundry she did for me. After I begrudgingly told her the story of that night a few weeks back where I had surely lost at least 3 of my 9 lives, we concluded that the panties must have fallen out of the towel and perfectly onto the bathroom floor without me noticing as I pulled it out of the bathroom closet, like some sort of perfectly scripted plan like you might see in an Ocean’s Eleven sequel.
So, my ex girlfriend wasn’t in my home that evening. That was great news, although in a future story that I’ll share, you will see that my thinking was less like paranoia and more like intuition.
Anyway, that was Fright Night if there ever was one in real life, but I survived it.