A Hair’s Breadth

Mum makes me a cup of hot, sweet tea…it helps and I relive the experience.

At the traffic lights of a blind junction I hear the wail of emergency approaching, I wind my window down as I approach through green and see the blue flashes reflected in the stone of the bridge up ahead. The car is on us – I slow and wait to let the car come through. Impatiently from behind, a pick-up revs and pulls out skidding around the corner in its angry haste just as the police car arrives in my vision. Aware that they can’t possibly not collide as the van makes his fatal turn, my hands instinctively, go up to my face and I shut my eyes waiting for the bang. Somehow, by some will of divinity, it doesn’t happen. With a screech of tyres they both manage to keep on a different piece of tarmac. Three directions of stunned motorists are left in their wake.


Headlights drive close behind me. Suddenly they veer right and a white Clio overtakes in the narrow winding lane, letting off a long horn blast as it does. A little incensed by the reckless stupidity of the driver, I impetuously return the hoot. Immediately the car stops in front and sits there menacingly in the blackness of the late evening.

For what seems like an eternity, my breath is held; I wait for the car door to open. My headlights are still on full beam – forgotten in the speed of the moment. I flick the lever and they dip. A long, long second or two later and the car roars off into the night. Shaken, I continue on my way and around every corner I almost expect to see the car imbedded in a hedge.

I make sure that on the return journey I face my demons and drive back by the same route.

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