Leaves were skipping all over the road, getting pinned by the gutter and then freed with a new breeze, buffeting them up the nature strip, along the footpath and up into the air to start the dance all over again. The sun was doing that thing where it streams through the trees, landing on your hands which are gripping the wheel, warming them from the previous hour and a half spent in a blindingly cold westerly wind. I love it when it does that.
The rugby match had ended in a blazing 44-0 victory and once in the car on the way home the smell of victory was palpable albeit not particularly saying love, light, rainbows and unicorns. The little boys were quiet, recovering from a particularly early start for their own brand of footy and then blustery sideline action for their big brother.
We were heading to the Mall for Mother’s Day sushi, curiously not at all what I felt like but what the youngest of the brood had demanded and which was strongly supported by his fellow kind. Something was rolling around in the back of the car, a common enough issue in the Tip on Wheels that is our vehicular mode of transport, but one I found particularly jarring on this brilliantly clear but freezing day.
That nano-second of realisation – the looking up, the realising I was veering left, the (sudden) appearance of a stationary vehicle, the immediate over-correction and that fleeting “oh crap” moment when you know collision is imminent – was brutal.
Followed by the complete silence as everyone tries to process what just happened. It is as fleeting as that moment just before impact but it’s there. And then the shaking and the tears.
On Sunday, Mother’s Day, I drove into the back of a parked car.
There is nothing quite like the sound of one car crushing into another. It’s a particular tone, like that of an aluminium can being crushed under foot but a lot louder, more dramatic and well, bad. I’d located the source of irritation rolling around in the back, one of the little boys’ new water bottles they’d received that morning from their footy club. Funny, I’d been deliberating on new water bottles for the boys for months but could never justify the cost of the ones they liked (around $8 or so). This “free” one has now set me back $625 in our insurance excess. Awesome work there Kim, awesome.
On finding the offender I, naturally, took my eyes off the road, reached around and grabbed it. Somewhat in the vein of the last 50,000 times I’ve reached around to grab something rolling around on the floor that’s giving me the absolute shits or when the need had arisen to throw something at one of the children.
And there you have it.
What followed was an excruciating period of time which I filled nicely with lots of spontaneous tears, comforting the boys, and offering apologies to the poor innocent owners of the car I’d hit. I marvel at how the accident takes mere seconds but the aftermath drags on like a soft sand marathon.
Chef summed it up nicely when he put his arms around me and said, ‘If you didn’t want sushi you could have just said so.’