Disembodied Screams

I wrote this for a writing competition. It didn’t win. 

Please enjoy this sloppy seconds essay. 


My out-of-body experience started at the one hour and 22-minute mark of my 55-mile morning commute to work.

The miles of Boston traffic surrounding me morphed into blurry blobs, Ed Sheeran’s music became static, and I could only hear the sound of my voice yelling the same thing. Over and over and over.


There was no emotion behind my pleas—I sounded like Siri as I shouted “HELP!” for three minutes straight. Thankfully, it was winter and my windows were rolled up. I like to think any drivers that caught a glimpse of me alone and screaming in my car just thought I was talking to my husband on speakerphone. Or singing with the radio. Or doing anything except losing my mind.

Abruptly, though my tone remained the same, my word choice changed.

“F*$K! F*$K! F*$K!”

I’m not proud of my potty mouth, but I’d been awake since 4:30 a.m. Rising before the sun and leaving for work in the dark can make people do crazy things. Or at least that’s what I tell myself.

The F-bombs continued to drop until I heard a beautiful robotic voice from the GPS heavens:

In one mile, take the exit on the right.

I felt my soul get sucked back into my body and I jerked awake. It was sort of like when Patrick Swayze jumps into Whoopi Goldberg’s body in Ghost. Minus the awkward sex scene, and plus the fact that I was jumping into my own body. But you get the idea.

I suddenly felt alive again. Only one mile until my exit for work. I took a sip of coffee from my travel mug and started singing along with the radio, seemingly unfazed by the mental glitch that had just occurred.

I did, however, learn an incredibly valuable life lesson that day. In morning traffic, no one can hear you scream.


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