On Black Ice

By Karlene Bayok Edwards

It is winter and we are traveling, once again, from McCall to Boise for my piano lesson. The canyon road is recently plowed and only a few inches of snow cover the pavement. Snow is piled high on the mountain’s side of the narrow road. On the other side we can see over the low guardrail to the freezing black water of the Payette River roaring below us.

I am driving. I have been driving this road since I was fourteen and I have grown careless. I am enjoying the company of my best friend in the back seat. We are laughing. My mother tells me to slow down and I do so, but resentfully, and not for long.

I realize that, after all, I am going too fast and as I brake, I feel the car begin to slide across black ice. I remember the driver’s ed drill turn into the direction of the skid, don’t brake, but I can’t lift my foot from the brake. The car is sliding toward the black river’s side of the road, inexorably, I can’t control it, I can’t move, I think I have killed them I have killed my mother and my best friend and it’s too late there’s nothing I can do we are hurtling toward the black gaping water.

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Karlene Bayok Edwards

About Karlene Bayok Edwards

Karlene Bayok Edwards grew up in McCall and graduated from McCall-Donnelly High School. She volunteered at the McCall Library and later had a thirty-four-year career as a school librarian. She earned degrees in English literature and library science in Arizona, where she and her husband settled. Now retired, she writes from the vivid memories of her childhood and from the Idaho backcountry stories told by her parents, Joe and Marcella Bayok.

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