Driving to Survive

‘We have to go back!’ my wife screamed from the seat next to me.

‘There’s no time, Amanda,’ I said gruffly, planting my foot on the accelerator.

‘She’s our daughter,’ my wife began to sob. ‘She needs us!’

‘There won’t be anything we can do if we get caught in that mess,’ I said, gesturing back at the mayhem in our rear-view mirror. ‘She’s a grown up now, she can take care of herself.’

Amanda sank back into her chair, head in her hands. A helicopter flew over the top of the car, shockingly close to the road.

‘What’s happening?’ she asked in shock. ‘How did this happen?’

‘I don’t know,’ I said, keeping my head on a swivel as I weaved around abandoned cars and bags of clothes. ‘Nobody knows. Thank God I got that log book service around Adelaide.’


‘Honey, we have no idea how long or how far we’ll need to drive,’ I looked over at her. ‘We need the car to be in its best shape.’

‘Oh… right,’ Amanda nodded, like she was only half paying attention. She looked like she was going into shock.

I reached over and grabbed her hand.

‘We’re going to be okay,’ I told her. ‘We are.’

She nodded again, still not really with me.

I let go of her hand – and slammed on the brakes.

‘What is it?’ Amanda cried out.

‘Just a cat,’ I sighed, resting my head on the steering wheel. ‘Just a cat crossing the road.’

We sat in the silence for a moment, as our hearts raced.

‘You didn’t happen to get a brake repair when you were in Adelaide, did you?’ Amanda asked.

I laughed. I couldn’t help myself. Pretty soon she was smiling too. Then we were both laughing, unable to stop ourselves. It probably only lasted a minute – but it was enough.

‘Are you ready?’ I asked her, as a muffled thump echoed through the city behind us.

‘Yeah,’ she nodded, squeezing my hand. ‘I’m ready.’