After the Hurricane
Angels on Earth|Sept/Oct 2020
The little creek I crossed on my way to work became a surging river
JANE SANDERS

I squinted. was that a pothole? Turning the wheel, I guided the car around potential danger. It was early, still dark, and the back roads that wind over and around our creeks in Fredericksburg, Virginia, were tricky even in daylight. The children were at home, still asleep, but I was driving to meet my carpool, all of us government workers in Alexandria, about an hour north.

A hurricane had just blown through our area, but apart from getting to work on time, I wasn’t worried. We were fortunate, with no damage to our property, and most of the rain had already passed.

I looked down for a split second to adjust the radio—and lifted my eyes back up to see...muddy water? Taking my foot off the gas pedal, I felt the car drift as water washed over the windshield. The little creek was now a rushing river. It carried me down what was left of the road, until the water pushed my car onto its side, wedging the vehicle on an exposed cement culvert. Water poured in from all angles. I had to get out, but how would I battle this current?

Headlights shone through the dark. A woman jumped out of her car, waving her hands frantically from safe ground. “Can you swim to me if I hold out my umbrella?” she called.

With no other choice, I slipped on my shoulder bag and pulled my body through the driver’s side window, hoping against hope that my feet would find the creek bottom.

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