A car stands deserted next to the road. Luckily, it had made it just beyond the offramp. I take the slip to the right and am irritated to find that the upcoming robot is red. I abuse the breaks, unnecessarily, and stop too quickly. There a lady is sitting with her back leaning on the robot. Her young son is slouching at her feet. His eyes move rapidly from side to side, taking in the faces of all the motorists turning left. Across the road stands a plastic cow, at the entrance to the underground parking of the shopping centre. Its spots are too small and too perfectly round. A sort of giant, distorted Dalmatian. There is hooting and I pull off.
At the next robot, the man in the vehicle next to me throws me a brief, unimpressed look. Startled, and not entirely pleased that my beat up golf got away from the previous robot considerable quicker than his flashy Volvo. I grin and exaggerate tapping my hands to my music. In front of me, a bakkie full of workers smile at my energy. I move my hands to the bottom of my steering wheel, feeling guilty that they are wrapped in my fathers gloves, while the men in the bakkie are openly exposed to early morning winter.
My phone lets off its siren ring tone
What do you want so early?
Just reminding you about the video
Ugghh. Ill go back
Where is your mind lately?
I know, I’m sorry. I thought I was late
But in fact, way too early, as usual.
I’ll go back Paul.
No, leave it. She only wants the edited version by Friday. I probably wouldn’t even have got to it today.
Are you sure? What’s keeping you so busy?
I’m sure. Don’t worry about it ok.
Ok, see you just now.
The six thirty news headlines come on the radio. He’s right you know, you have plenty of time.
The wedding video was really nothing special. Sharon could not have beemed with more delight and anticipation on the day. AS I had watched her walk from table to table, it had even appeared as though a shining light had been sewn in to frame the princess gown. None of that had been captured. He told me he hated the weddings lately.
A newspaper lady startles me when her wristwatch knocks against the window accidentally.
You really should go get the video
I manoeuvre into the inside lane and make a UTURN when the robot turns green.
Riding back, the abandoned car demands more of my attention. A hoard of people are now grouped around it and peering into the back window. The car is a red citi golf, with partially tinted windows, all of which are still intact. It has been clumsily decorated with surf and skate stickers and the back number plate has fallen off.
Again the robot stops me and I am able to observe more closely. One woman has removed herself from the window and is slumped on the bonnet. Her face is blotchy. She is alternatively wiping away tears and furiously brushing both hands through her hair.
I turn left instead of right and stop my own car behind the golf. The gloves have become stuffy and soggy and so I take them off. No one pays any attention as I march up to the rear window. A baby girl is sitting in a car seat. She looks about a year old.
Is this your car?
No, I also just stopped here, about 5 minutes ago.
Who is the owner?
Not here. Who knows.
Has anyone tried to open?
Yip. But here’s the AA now.
The door is opened and the lady who had been crying retrieves the child, who is incredibly quiet.
What are you going to do?
Not sure. I think I should go to the hospitals first. I guess?
Will you look for a wallet or something with a name on?
But there is nothing in the car, but the child’s one shoe which had fallen off.
Phone the traffic department with the registration number.
Ja, I will.
I’ll do it for you if you like?
No, its fine. I just want to get something for her to drink first
Ok. Good luck.
Back at home I sit for a cigarette. Ash flies all over the place as I continuously miss the ashtray.
You should have taken her number
I grab the video and head for the door.
Where the hell are you now?
I came back.
Well hurry please, you’re late