Outside the South Road BP


My windscreen wipers dart violently back and forth like a kid having a nightmare. For a second’s fraction I see a million streetlights refracted; traffic lights, tail lights, headlights. Above, the empyrean black velvet is sodden and heavy. It’s like driving underwater tonight.

In front of the petrol station, she is silhouetted by the fluorescent green glow, tramping italicised into the downpour.

I indicate left. The door is always unlocked. She falls into the vinyl seat, the rain in her hair shaking loose onto my rear view mirror. She adjusts her miniskirt as she stammers gratefully through chattering teeth.

No worries at all. Happy to give anyone a ride on a night like this. Where do you need to get to?

She adjusts a shoulder strap and warms the goosebumps from her arms, pointing homeward. Street names and numbers in short breaths.

Oh, I live just around the corner from there. I’ll take you to your door.

She has been at the local. Fed the pokies her rent. She forces a laugh when she predicts her husband’s ferocity and briskly turns to me.

What have I been up to? Well, I’ve been at my fiancee’s house…

The sentence is left hanging in the air. She makes her offer so abruptly my mind barely registers her words.

Ah, no thanks. I’ll be right.

Her tone remains friendly. Maybe next time, the melody says. On my insides, I am a crowd at a bullfight. Outside, the weather is merciless.

Because he doesn’t like her returning in cars with men, she gets out around the corner from her home and crosses the tarmac, head bowed, holding herself.


~ by Daniel Townsend on February 26, 2013.

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