Wait in Your Car

7 Sep

Wait in Your Car

 The sky is a brilliant blue, getting darker minute by minute: black at the top, if there is a top; and at the horizon just a few shades darker than daylight.  Absolute, darkness falls.  There’s just a sliver of the moon illuminated, and there, behind it, still visible, the rest of the globe in shadow, not mysteriously removed as I once believed.

There is an orange-speckled hue on my page, and a thick black right-hand margin, curved at the top and bottom.  It’s a little too dark to read, I tried but my eyes hurt even with the circular light of the torch.  There is just enough light to write, making definite strokes, pushing hard onto the paper unsure of where the lines are.  Writing transient words that disappear once they move from the exact focus of the pen.  Words which lose all sense and meaning, already fudged by the memory of what they were, of what they are meant to be.

It is so peaceful.  Noises which we never normally hear become apparent: the hazard lights clicking and the syncopated ticking of my watch; the hum of the street lights; the background noise, like background radiation, at Dounray, not quoted.  This is what we call silence.  I sit for a while and listen to it.

What else can I do but sit and listen, and write a few words?  Eating a Mars bar doesn’t take that long, no matter how hard I try to savour the flavour, and I-Spy isn’t much of a challenge on your own.

It’s getting colder now, and I could curse myself for wearing this damned regulation skirt, impractical in emergencies, designed to keep women down.  I pull up my scarf so that it covers my mouth and with deep breathes try to create some warmth while keeping the fibres out of my mouth.  Slightly consoled that I can no longer see the cold, I try harder to keep warm, tucking the travelling rug tighter about my body.  All winter it has travelled backwards and forwards, keeping my back seat warm, and the flask of coffee safe.

I finished the coffee an hour ago, and now it waits in my bladder screaming to be released, causing me more pain and discomfort by the minute, distracting me from the pain in my bluing fingers, grasping ever tighter on my pen.

My writing gets sprawlier, hardly keeping to any sort of format, and I am distracted from it by the appearing constellations.  Orion is the only one I can name at this time of year, but I recognise the shape and brightness of others.  I always look at the sky as I walk up the path, noting as the months go by Orion’s slow descent down the back of the house.  They are the only proof we have of movement, the only indication we have that we might be going somewhere.  It’s comforting to know that even while I am stuck here, I am actually travelling through the night.

I am suddenly aware that my hazard lights have gone out, and I am not sure when I was last aware of them.  Did I doze?  There is now no sign of my predicament, unless of course you count a car on the hard shoulder for five hours.  Five hours?

I saw on the news about a woman who brought a sign back from America which said: “Breakdown – Please contact police”.  The police in this country don’t approve saying that such signs only advertise the driver’s vulnerability.  “Wait in your car” they say.  A couple of cars have passed recently, but I doubt that they would have been able to read a sign at the speed they were going, even if I had one.

There is a certain lawlessness at night: no one heeds traffic lights or speed limits; burglars sneak away; boys get slashed and women raped, and no one sees, no one hears.  Yet in a strange way it is so calm: all the fever and fervour of daytime has abated, there is less panic, even I feel less panic.  I being to wonder where these passing cars are going, and I make up stories corresponding with the size and make of the cars, and I try desperately not to fall asleep.

How long have I waited, believing that with every minute, every hour, I increase the probability of being rescued?  I have contemplated taking the risky, solitary walk, but what if I miss my one chance, the one police car that my pass and wonder what I’m doing here.  How long have I sat imprisoned in my car, while murderers roam free?  And how long before I freeze to death, unheard, unhelped, following police advice.

Author’s Note: This story was written a long, long time ago, before mobile phones were commonplace. I’ve just fallen so far behind with the weekly writing prompts at Creative Writing Ink that I had to do something drastic. I know it’s maybe not quite in the spirit of the prompts, but needs must – I’ll not bore you with how crazy my life is just now.

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2 Responses to “Wait in Your Car”

  1. Cos September 11, 2015 at 4:55 pm #

    This is brilliant! Going to go grab a bite to eat before I spend the next few hours scrolling through your blog and reading your works. Keep it up!

    Like

    • colettecoen September 11, 2015 at 6:00 pm #

      Thanks for that. It can be a bit soul destroying when there are more knockbacks than acceptances, but you’ve cheered me up no end.

      Like

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