The day I got arrested dawned shiny and new, the dew on the golf course glistening. It was the first time I had lived on a golf course in a luxury home, and I was pretty pleased with myself in general, not only for finally finding the huevos to leave my husband, but for finding this great place and getting myself into it all by myself. The week before, I had moved out of my husband’s house in carefully cinched plastic grocery store bags since I didn’t own any of my own luggage anymore.
I was on a date that night with an old boyfriend having sushi, except that I wasn’t having sushi: I was just drinking, because eating was hard. I remember looking at myself in the bathroom mirror before we left, thinking, Wow, you got drunk fast.
I had driven myself, and I wanted to drive myself back. It’s what I had done all my life. I got into my car and only realized later as I left the brightly lit city and drove deeper into the desert that my eyesight was compromised. This I became fully aware of when I attempted to make a right through desert crossroads under construction. The only well-lit parts of that intersection were me, the other people’s headlights, and the red-striped barriers flashing their warning signals, one of which I bumped into with my rear bumper. It didn’t fall down—I could see that in the rear-view mirror—but it tipped back on two legs and rocked a couple times.
I realized I might be in trouble. There were too many people at that intersection to have missed seeing what I’d done. I slowed down to better keep myself between the desert ditch to my right and the other side of the road to my left. I only had a mile to go before home when the red and blue lights started flashing behind me. I knew enough to pull over and turn the ignition off. When the officer reached the side of my car, I pantomimed my apology through the window for having to turn the ignition back on to make the window roll down.
Somewhere between a dream and a nightmare, you wonder if anything is real. As I held my arms out and walked heel to toe, heel to toe, I thought, Please help me, God or Dad. God or Dad, please help me.