Driving to Church

“When people don’t express themselves, they die one piece at a time.” 

― Laurie Halse Anderson, Speak

At fourteen, you don’t think too much about death;
but then there are days it kicks you in the gut.

Riding to a church meeting with my best friend
her mom driving, all three of us sitting in the front seat
I sat in the middle; we talked about school, about boys
while the radio played our favorite song- ‘Hey Jude
Don’t make it bad, take a sad song and make it better’…
laughing and enjoying the ride, until-

I heard her mother before Judy did
Wait- what did she say? Then the world slowed-
my hand reached for the radio knob to turn it down
and that’s when Judy heard it too-
‘TIME TO DIE’
Her mother kept repeating it over and over and over.

I tore my eyes away from her face and looked ahead
She was driving us into a railroad yard, her foot hard
on the gas driving head on towards a parked train
And in that instant I grabbed the wheel,
slammed my left foot on the brakes.

So, I found myself trying to drive a car
for the first time –
To this day, I thank God it was an old blue Chrysler
with a push button transmission on the dash.

Judy sat in the back seat with her mom who was crying too
She tried to console her, but the tears kept coming
I drove us to the church, and slid the lever to ‘P’
found the preacher; told him what happened.

They said she had a mental breakdown.
Judy and her mom moved away shortly after
but every time I hear ‘Hey Jude’- I remember.

©2021 Linda Lee Lyberg

dVerse Poetics: In the Light of Other Days

Linda Lee Lyberg is a wife, mother, artist, published poet and author. She resides in Mesa, AZ with her husband Pete (aka The Big Viking) of 25 years and their latest rescue, Jackson “Jax” Lyberg. Linda writes various forms of poetry, as well as short stories. You can read more of her works at: charmedchaos.com and view anthologies containing her work here: Amazon Author Page

37 Comments on “Driving to Church

  1. Push button drive was short-lived; lots of bugs in it. Your memory is something out of the Twilight Zone. Truth often is stranger and stronger than fiction. Wow.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, Linda what a hair-raising experience! You were quick thinking as you took charge of the situation. Good for you! Very sad when anyone gets to that point in life!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a shocking story! And what really gave me the shivers is, I was once feeling really bad whilst driving (I wouldn’t have actually crashed the car, but it occurred to me that I didn’t really want to go on) then Hey Jude came on the radio and made me want to keep on fighting.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Holy Toledo, girl. From previous comments I gather this actually happened. I was hoping it was invented, but it’s too immediate, to outre to be made up. Wow. I’m so glad you weren’t wrecked! My grandfather’s Plymouth had those push button thingies too, so I remember them. Year ago, I had had an argument with this guy and he was driving as we returned from some place. He was angry with me, and at one point he turned and looked at me and said, “There’s no reason why I don’t just crash us right now.” He didn’t, but a chill went down my spine.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. What a shocker…….this poem grabs and twists…which of course is what a reader waits for poetry to do…but here…..speechless…. very well recited…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. That is one scary poem. I see from previous comments it is true. I was going to compliment you on the excellent build, climax and relief. Instead I feel like congratulating you on surviving!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I can feel the trauma resonating through your poem. nervous breakdowns are the worse, they slowly buildup when one takes a lot of stress.
    Awesome blog you have got! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

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