Drive carefully – A short story.

I’ll remember that day until death wipes my memory blank like the computer main frame of a big corporation threatened with fraud allegations.

The day started so happily. Josh had just passed his driving test a couple of weeks before and was still walking around with a big grin across his face. It was the day after his eighteenth birthday and he had gone into town to buy his first car with the money the whole family had clubbed together to give him. It wouldn’t be enough for a new car, or anything fancy, but it was a start. He had cried tears of gratitude when he opened the envelope to see the wodge of notes. 

He’d gone into town with Jennifer, the girl he’d been seeing for the last three months. She was a nice girl whose folks lived in the next block. 

I kept myself busy with the usual weekend chores, doing the laundry, hanging the washing out on the line. It was a glorious sunny day, warm with a gentle breeze, perfect drying weather. I was just mopping the kitchen floor when I heard the engine of a car coming roaring up the road and I heard the unmistakable sound of it pulling onto our gravelled driveway. 

I looked out of the window and saw Josh and Jennifer sitting in an old convertible, bright red, with the top down, the pair of them grinning with so much youth and vigour. 

I went out onto the porch. 

“Hi Ma, What do you think of it then? I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. It’s only ten years old and the mileage is pretty good for that age. The bloke at the second-hand showroom said that it had been kept in a garage for the last two years. It was a real bargain.”

“Yes Dear, but it wasn’t what I expected you to bring home. I thought you’d start with a small car, a mini or something like that, until you got used to driving around a bit more.”

“Well I thought that was all I would be able to get, but I never thought this would be within my price range. It must be my lucky day. I can’t wait to show it to Steve and the gang. Do I have time to go and show them now Ma? When’s dinner?”

“Dinner won’t be for a couple of hours yet, I suppose you’ll be joining us Jennifer? You’ll be welcome.”

Jennifer nodded. She didn’t talk much, probably just shy.

“Well Ma, can I go and show Steve my new wheels?”

“Yes, of course love, but don’t stay too long. Drive carefully.”

She said it automatically and yet when she did she felt as if someone had punched her in the stomach. 

Off Josh drove down the lane at breakneck speed.

Only this time the metaphor was far too appropriate. 

Ten years ago to the day, She still fought the tears as she placed the bunch of red roses on her son’s grave. 

The End

Copyright: Kristian Fogarty 17/May/2018