Have you ever wanted to drive your car into the concrete barrier beside the highway?

Just as you pull into a grand right curve at seventy miles per hour, it occurrs to you that if you just straightened your wheel – or better yet, let go – that you would careen headlong into that concrete wall. It would be an easy thing, a simple thing. One moment, one tiny impulse to the muscles of your arm.

You don’t do it – but you imagine. Now it’s in your head. You’ve completed that stretch of highway, but you are still visualizing what would have occurred if you had let go. Perhaps it would be even more satisfying to ram that wall, to jerk the wheel to the left, surprising even yourself with the suddenness of the movement – but only for an instant, before your appointment with the immutable.

Then, of course, it occurrs to you to question your thoughts. What is it that prompted this morbid vision? The obvious answer would be depression – a suicidal tendency. Perhaps. Maybe. But that doesn’t seem right, does it? You might not be the most joyful person in the world, but you really haven’t felt all that depressed lately. Have you? No, not really. Not like that.
What, then?
The next thing that comes to mind is curiosity. That might fit better, for, by necessity, you’ve never done anything so extreme. In fact, you’ve led a pretty cautious life. There really hasn’t been much that you could call “wild” in your past, and that wasn’t an accident. Usually “wild” has seemed to equate pretty well with “stupid,” and those wild people have all kinds of problems that have never accosted you. You’re not an alcoholic, nor do you have any substance problems. You don’t have any real health problems, not really, and you’ve never lost anyone very close to you, although you can’t claim any credit for that.
See, another reminder that your life is really quite good. Why then, if your choices have served you well, are you so curious, so desperately curious, about the most reckless of things?

If you feel left out of all things exciting in your safe, planned little life, why don’t you go out and get trashed? Do some jello shots and regret it with your throbbing headache in the morning. Why must you dwell on something so tremendous, something irrevokable? Have you saved up so much care and safety inside that only a violent and terrible crash and squeal of steel and bones can balance it out?


You’re coming up on another grand right curve. As you begin to turn the wheel again, you glance left and wonder. Heart beating faster, you let yourself begin to drift toward the edge of the lane, concrete barrier looming. You look again, then gaze at your hands on the wheel. Your left front tire crosses the yellow line, but then you correct course. There’s an aching feeling in your stomach as you finish that grand right curve and continue on your way, safely.

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3 Responses to “Safe”

  1. aricollins Says:

    Hey, nice piece of writing, Sebs.

  2. Sebatinsky Says:


  3. deathbychiasmus Says:

    One day I walked a few blocks from work to go have lunch at Skyline Chili. When I walked back, at the intersection near work, I was standing on the corner when a guy ran a red light and clobbered the tail end of a van that had turned left on yellow. The crunch and the bumper shards and the wobbling van careening up to the curb were all burned into my memory, and for months afterward, whenever I was driving, I deliberately recalled that moment. I would tell myself: any moment where I am not willfully alert while driving is a moment where that can happen to me.

    This reminds me of that.

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