An Unplanned Sunday Evening Drive

We drove in convoy, a boy each, the girl with me.

I kept cheerful but my mind wandered.

The boy asked me questions about words he found in the book he was reading.

“What’s subsisdence Mam ?”

I answered, distracted, checking his sister in the rear view mirror.

I tried to focus on the road, but struggled.

The familiar journey had never seemed so far.

A lovely family day out, a beautiful summer evening, home for dinner. Small children, hungry, tired and temperful, the littlest got a push.

A bigger one didn’t know his strength, or didn’t think through what he was doing.

A fall, a bang, a piercing scream.

I turned from stirring dinner and saw my husband scoop her up, legs kicking, screaming.

My stomach lurched.

The boys looked panic stricken, one looked guilty and scared.

I grabbed a soother, then some ice and her daddy reassured her.

She fought us. She didn’t like the cold. She resisted.

A bump, the size of an egg, maybe bigger. On her forehead but encroaching on her eye.

I made the call, gave the information and was told that A&E was our destination.

She stopped crying as I told her dad that we’d need to go.

“No me see doctor, me starbing” she declared. If the child was starving she’d need to be fed.

We ate dinner quickly and quietly, grabbed supplies and hit the road.

The bump seemed to be changing colour. It was probably the evening light.

We got stuck, slowly following tractors and tourists.

She snoozed a little, and we roused her as recommended.

We got there, got checked in. She sat close on my knee.

Three hours and two medics later we were home. She was fine, her checks and dance performance in the corridor reassured everyone. No harm being sure.

“Keep a close eye”. Oh we will.

On the drive home I banished all awful things that had run through my mind on the journey down to places I don’t want to visit again. Things a parent never wants to think.

She chatted the whole way home, 45 minutes of spotting cows and declaring that she didn’t like the ice.

She walked in to the house by herself at 10pm.

“No me go to bed” she announced at the foot of the stairs. “Any dessert?”

She’s black and blue, but fine.

It may take me some time to recover.

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