I was falling gently into a misty drifting twilight world between sleep and wakefulness. Robert was already asleep; soft, warm-slow breaths on the back of my neck. A noise startled, pulling me away from that place. I desperately wanted to resist it.
“Errh…phone” I mumbled into the pillow “phone”
“Whassat? Whaa?” slurred Robert
We’d got back late for a Thursday evening. We’d been over to see some friends after supper; it must have been around twelve by the time we got into bed.
“Phone!” I stagger unsteadily out of bed, bumping into the chest and slipping on the rug.
“Light on?” murmured Robert from the depths of the duvet “Didn’t hear. Sure?”
We once tried to have a phone in our bedroom, but because of thick cob walls and a dodgy connection that was ungetatable we gave up. Sometimes we hear the phone at night and I guess sometimes we don’t. Often it’s a misdialled number or a hoax.
I drunkenly stumbled the stairs to the study, fumbled for the light, but missed the call. It had gone onto answerphone. No message. I dialled 1471 but my brain hadn’t hooked up yet and the numbers meant nothing. Shaking my head and slapping my face to reawaken the blood supply I was about to redial when the phone went again.
“Oll – what’s happened?”
None of those things that are meant to happen happened. My heart didn’t stop. My stomach didn’t plummet. I didn’t feel sick. I didn’t turn to ice.
“Are you okay?”
Those words – so futile – are you okay? Are you broken? Are you bleeding to death? Has your head, your body or any of your limbs been scrunched, torn, flung across the countryside? Is anyone else hurt, maimed, dead? Are you going to live? You are my child. I bleed when you do. Every one of your hurts hurts me…more. I love you.
“Are you okay?”
“I think so. Yes, I think so.”
He had also, unusually for a Thursday, been over to see some friends too. He’d decided to come home via a different route. They’ve been resurfacing all the small back roads and as he rounded a bend he hit a thick layer of new gravel and went into a skid; the wheels locked, he careered up a short elevated track to a field entrance, which flipped the car over bouncing it on a salt/gravel box, throwing it onto its roof and rolling it over again down the hill. It came to rest on the driver’s side in the middle of the road. He managed to crawl out of the passenger door.
Seeing it there, bottom side up across the road, a broken, skewed crushed metal box spewing forth glass, fuel and radiator fluid started the icy fingers of shock moving through my body. How he came out of it unscathed I don’t know. That no one else was involved – another miracle.
We managed to turn the car upright and tow it with the truck to a safe place near by. The next day in the light we would deal with it. Now back home, sweet tea and bed.
Robert and I felt peculiar yesterday – strange, disorientated and off-kilter. Olly, who I thought might be battered and bruised once the initial shock wore off was, still, miraculously, completely unscathed.
not olly’s car