Panic on the Highway 山路历险记 （3）
 Sleep wouldn't come. I lay staring
into the dark, listening to the sounds of trucks and cars rushing
along the nearby interstate. I tried to summon up reassuring images
of home, now so many hundreds of miles away. I thought of Betsy
and Tabitha, the two lovable cats that belonged to my husband and
me; of Ben, the playful mutt who loved to catch Frisbees. I thought
about friends and neighbors. I pictured the faces of my husband
 I also thought about Lillian, our parents'
part-time maid. I could almost touch calmness when I thought about
Lillian, with her gentle voice and radiant smile. I knew Lillian
was praying for me; she always prays for our family, especially
when one of us is away. I found myself clutching for a verse from
Deuteronomy. How did it go? "Don't be afraid, for the Lord
will go before you and will be with you; He will neither fail nor
 But nothing could dispel the sense of
helplessness that overwhelmed me whenever I contemplated the frowning
mountains that lay ahead. The next morning I had to force myself
to slide behind the wheel. Just one more day, I kept telling myself.
Surely I can find the courage to make it through one day. If I just
kept my eyes locked on the back of my brother's truck, if I just
made my wheels follow his wheels, I'd be all right. If I would just
take slow, deep breaths instead of shallow, terrified gasps, I would
be all right.
 If I could just visualize my heart as
a place where courage dwelt, instead of panic, I would be all right.
I kept telling myself that the fear of crashing through the guardrail
and plunging over the edge existed only in my imagination, pot in
fact. Control, that was the key. I would cling with all my might
to control. I would clutch it tight and take charge .
 But as the day wore on and the road
mounted higher, that little core of self-control grew smaller and
smaller, and finally, on a heart-stop-ping grade southwest of Barstow,
California, it vanished altogether.