Maurice and I are on our way to my mum’s house. My grandparents are staying there this week. I haven’t seen them in I don’t even know how long. They haven’t seen Maurice yet. I’m driving along and I’m happy and excited. I’m singing to myself and I’m admiring the sunshiney sky and I’m resisting the urge to speed. I don’t want to get a speeding ticket, and I definitely don’t want to get into an accident. I wonder why excitement always makes me want to press my foot down harder on the accelerator.
We’re barrelling along the stretch of open road that links my suburb to my parents’ suburb. I know this section of road well, so I don’t need to concentrate too hard. I’m relaxed and I’m looking around. I like catching glimpses of the drivers of the cars coming towards me. Not that I can see much. There’s a shadowy head and shoulders and then it’s gone. I can’t even tell if the drivers are men or women.
There’s a little red car coming up and it looks almost empty. It looks almost as if there is no driver at all. I look harder, I try to focus my eyes better, and I see that there is a driver, but the driver is not watching where they’re going. The driver is leaning over the passenger seat, and their head is hidden from view. I guess they’re looking for something, but I can’t imagine what would be more important than actually watching where you’re going when you’re driving a hundred kilometres an hour.
I pass the car and the driver still hasn’t popped their head back up. I watch the vehicle anxiously in my rear view mirror. It’s starting to veer off to the left slightly. It looks as though it’s going to run right off the road. I flick my eyes quickly between the road in front of me and the car in my mirror, and as the vehicle straightens back up I remember...
We’re on our way to milking in the old Holden that Kane just bought off his sister’s dodgy boyfriend. Jessica is busy this afternoon, so it’ll just be me, Penny and Kane. Penny’s in the backseat behind me, and I’m up in the front next to Kane. If Jessica was here I’d be in Penny’s seat; I’d be the third wheel. I kind of like that I’m the one getting the attention today.
Kane pulls over at the dairy to get some snacks for the trip.
“Bring me back a treat!” I call, as he heads into the shop. I’m not expecting anything, and I am surprised when he comes back out with a chocolate fish. He gives it to me. He smiles. I eat it.
We’re out in the country now, and me and Kane are chatting away like old friends. I’m eating the sour cream and chives potato chips Kane got at the shop, and there’s a big bottle of Coke rolling around on the floor by my feet. I can tell Kane is having fun driving his new car. He can really see how it runs out on the open road like this.
We’ve just come through an intersection and turned right. Kane is accelerating, getting the car up to speed, and he decides he wants a drink. He leans over to my side of the car. His right hand is gripping the steering wheel, and his left arm is reaching out towards the Coke. He ducks his head down and he’s looking at the drink. He’s not looking at the road. He’s not looking at the road because he’s looking at the drink and he’s driving pretty fast and -
Eyes off the road
The next thing I remember is waking up. In a ditch. Underneath the car.