Sunday, January 23, 2011

Shaking in the Aftermath

I have never been in a true car accident. I have been in a few near misses, always due to someone else's carelessness and incredible skill on the part of the person driving my car. The only time that person was me was about five years ago. My daughter and I were headed home to see my father who was ill. The weather had been less than ideal, but we forged ahead. Just a few miles from our destination, as we crested the top of a rather steep hill, we could see a plow truck speeding our way followed closely by a large, heavy-duty pick-up. Speeding is the key word. We passed them in the valley and their speed caused us to spin in their wake. So there we were…slowly spinning around…once…twice…three times.

It was surreal. My daughter didn’t yell. Neither did I. She just braced herself as I tried to control the car. Feathery touch on the steering wheel. No gas. No brake. The whole ordeal probably took seconds but it felt like hours before we ended up in the wrong lane facing up the hill with our rear tires in a ditch. I took a minute to collect myself. We weren’t hurt, but I didn’t know about the car. It was too dangerous to stay in the car where it was, too dangerous to get out. So, crossing our fingers, I put the car in second and prayed we could climb out of the ditch. We did. Small miracle.

Once we reached my parents, I started to shake. This is what happens to me…I can hold it together in a crisis or an emergency, but afterwards, there is always uncontrollable shaking. Always.

I thought that’s what should’ve happened on Dark Shadows. I waited for Victoria to start shaking. I mean, there she was, standing on the gallows with a rope around her neck. No hope for rescue. No chance to prove she was really from the future and innocent of the crime of which she was accused. No way to reach her new love. Then, as the trapdoor opened and the rope tightened, Victoria suddenly found herself back in the Collin’s drawing room. The past disappeared and the present returned.  She was frightened and confused and shocked (and, I have to imagine, slightly annoyed) that those she returned to had not missed even a single moment of time in all the months she was gone. That would have been a fine time to start shaking.

Imagine…she had traveled back in time…been accused of being a witch…figured out that Barnabas a was vampire…mourned the loss of her first love…fell in love again…been tired and hungry, chased, mistreated, hidden, found, jailed, and hanged…and the rest of those who had been at the séance hadn’t blinked. Not once.

I would have shaken…if not from a reaction to incredible stress, then from blind fury.

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