Drive It Back: A Smash365 Response

In response to the 11/30/11 Smash365 prompt: Imagination.

Think back to younger days when imagination ruled your day. Did you abandon your imagination for more “grown-up” ideas and responsibilities? Grant yourself the space to be imaginative today and write on the following topic: While driving to a relative’s house, you notice that, with each turn, you go back further in time. What period in time is it when you reach your destination? What is the significance of being in this place, at this time?

“Have you lost your way, Son?”

My hands are gripped tightly around the wheel of my ’68 Ford Falcon, a wreck of a car I call Deuce, as I stare out the windshield at the old, aquamarine blue paint fading on the hood.

I dare not look left at the officer, or any farther along the street I’m on, Littlewood Road, where I grew up.

Or, is it “growing” up? I’m not sure anymore.

“Son, I asked you a question. Are you ok?”

I am afraid to move in fear of what might happen next. I am absolutely positive that, not 25 minutes ago, I was in my house in Towson, saying goodbye to my wife and three children, before heading to teach for the day.

Now I am 16 again, here on Littlewood, in the car that barely got me from red light to red light along Joppa Road in the early 1980s.


I turn to face the officer, and he sees something in my eyes he does not like. He takes a step back from the car, rests his right hand on his revolver, and speaks in a different tone — this time with a little less concern for me and a lot more for himself.

“Son, I need you to exit your vehicle slowly, but immediately. Do you understand me?”

I try to move, but my legs — they just won’t work.

“Off- Officer,” I stutter. “What- what year is it?”

The officer begins walking backward toward his car, his shadow thrown in front of him every time the single red cherry light pulses from the top of his car. The shadow is long, ever-growing, as he reaches the door of his police car.

He grabs the handset of his radio and tries to muffle his voice, but I hear every word.

“613 to Dispatch. I need a backup here at Littlewood and Joppa.”

I wave at the cop with my left arm, “Officer, you don’t understand.”

“You keep those hands on that wheel, son.”

He unbuckles the strap on his holster and grips the handle of his service pistol.

“Really, Officer. I can explain.”

But I know I cannot. How can I explain to him that, not twenty minutes ago, I was 46 years old, living in Towson with my family, and heading to school like I’ve done every day for the last 25 years?

. . . .To be continued? Most likely! ~rvw


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