Wheel of life

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I had an accident in the early hours on my way home from work on Friday night. I hit black ice at the bottom of the lane and slid across the bend embedding my wing in the bank and narrowly missing a pole and the bridge over the canal.

Once I got my breath back from the impact I had to work out what to do. I was miles from anywhere in the deepest part of the valley with very few houses around me. Any recovery vehicle would struggle to find me let alone get there and the phone signal was patchy. I managed to push it off the bank and decided to try drive it up the windy road to the main road and to walk home from there. The car was drivable albeit strange to manoeuvre and tricky to get around a bend but I couldn’t go very fast anyway. As I drove I found myself getting angrier, my shift at the pub had gone well until the final hour when I was told the till was down again and I felt hopelessly conspired against. I simply couldn’t work out if it was me and what I was doing wrong if it was.

As I laboured to get the car up the hill I began to shout, “Fuck you, fuck you, you won’t beat me, I will not give up, I am not going back, fuck you, fuck you, fuck you.” As I shouted I cried. I cried with anger, frustration, hopelessness, despair, loneliness and fear. This was so fucking unfair and so arbitrary, I had potentially ruined my car, my only method of getting anywhere, in order to work in a place that neither valued or supported me. I was fucked and I had done it to myself.

The sound of the tyre hitting the road changed and became more uneven, thadunk, thadunk, thadunk, and the steering juddered as I took it up the narrow lane the middle of which was covered with scree and this provided some traction as what air remained left the tyre. I was still shouting but now I was crying too. I was scared, I was upset and I felt so alone. But strangely though I also knew I would get out, I knew I would survive and part of me was planning what to do when I hit the main road and again tomorrow morning when I went to recover the car.

By now the tyre was bent out of shape and rubbing against the shaft and I knew
I had to leave it so I made for a layby and got out. I rang my son and got no reply so I started to walk along the road in the direction of what oncoming traffic there was. Once a girl guide, always a girl guide.

The stars were bright and clear and somewhere inside I could enjoy the opportunity to be out here on my own. I was grateful I had dressed for the weather and wasn’t cold, it had stopped raining and I wasn’t wet. Eventually my son rang me back and came to pick me up, and by that time I could laugh as I told him about raging my way up the hill in my broken car with my broken heart providing the determination not to be defeated by this.

The next morning we went and changed the wheel to the spare. I drove it to a garage where they pronounced the wheel still round, supplied a new tyre and sorted the tracking. I have a nasty bash on the bumper, but really normal service had resumed, my car is dirty, functioning and merely sported a new wound. Much like me, it had not been defeated again.

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