Driving in the Breakdown Lane

Judy’s adult life has been a protracted heart attack, driving across state lines, in the breakdown lane, at night. The car belongs to her rich sister Valerie, who only lent it reluctantly. “Oh, Judy, again?” she’d said. “When are you going to get your act together?”

Judy’s right hand, not on the steering wheel, is clutching the hand of her terrified son, Edgar. His sisters sing “Nearer my God to Thee” like they are sure of it, more resentful than afraid. It’s snowing hard but the windows are open for OXYGEN and so mama can see.

Melissa, in the passenger seat, is protective of the younger two, is the main shock absorber, which will eventually destroy her. Devotion drives Edgar, mama’s secret favorite, to strive to intuit the right road home, forever and at any cost. Anna, the baby, nurses a bird with a broken wing, a father she can mend who might stay, a lover who always rides away.

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