Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Shelter

I haven't felt so sheltered in a long time. At first I sat in the driver's seat with my eyes closed while the wind rocked and buffeted the car. I moved to the back seat to search through my bag for money but the wind blew the door shut and once again I felt cocooned.

Nothing else feels weatherproof around here. I don't ordinarily have a car so I walk through wind or sun or rain to work and back again. The Peach sighs and breathes while rain breaches roof and windows and cracks in the walls. Even my office is ancient and allows fingers of air under doorways and window sills. But not this car.

This car belongs to my father and like all his possessions has art in its design. My neighbour thought I'd won the lottery when I parked it outside his house. It is large and sleek and every convenience has been thought of but best of all is how it feels to shut the door and turn the key in the ignition. All weekend I have had this car and the accompanying possibility of going anywhere at any moment without physical effort or even the need for shoes.

I opted for practicality and drove myself to the supermarket and then home again with two bags full of heavy cans. I made a long list of places I might like to drive. I thought a little and crossed them out one by one. I didn't really have anywhere to go.

I didn't really have anywhere to go until today. I drove to work, there was nowhere to park. I intended to circle the block and try a different backstreet when I seemed to suddenly arrive on the roof of a supermarket three suburbs away. It was fifteen minutes before I was due at the office. I could have made it to work, maybe even been on time but instead I picked up my phone and said I was feeling sick.

The wind buffeted the car and there I sat with my eyes closed while the car rocked and the clear light stayed steady. After I'd been motionless and without thought in the back seat for half an hour I started to realise something was probably wrong. I felt fine, motionless and empty-headed but fine yet not quite right either. Why was I here? When did I make the decision to drive here? Why did I call in sick for work at the last possible moment when I woke myself sneezing five hours ago? And the larger more important question of what the fuck was I doing sitting motionless in a car on top of a supermarket half an hour after I figured it probably wasn't a normal thing to be doing?

I need to be at the airport to meet my father tomorrow afternoon when he flies back into town. He'll drop me at The Peach and then drive four hours home. After that I suppose I'll be back to normal, shoving tea towels in cracks in the walls to keep the wind out and life limited to walking distance.

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