Wednesday, July 4, 2007

The Seatbelt

I am in a car; someone who resembles my mother (but isn’t) is driving. There are two children in the back and someone who resembles my father (but isn’t).

The step mother (I will call her this for convenience) seems agitated. She says “At the next stop I will pull over and put some shoes on those children, their feet are cold.” I am furious with her for slighting my ability to care for my children (I realise when provoked that those children are mine). “Look” I shout “if you don’t think I am looking after them then just say”.

“OK then, I don’t think you look after them.”

Infuriated I grab the children from the back, a baby and toddler. I put socks and shoes first on the baby, then on the toddler. But the socks are too thick and the shoes too small and the baby leads me to believe that she is perfectly warm and would rather not wear these awkward encumbrances (she communicates this telepathically with a smile).

I put them back in the rear of the car, the toddler stands next to the amiable but weak step father who is playing with the baby. As I look at them I realise that now they really are in danger: the stepmother who drives this car is senile (I start to tell her so but then chicken out) and now my children are travelling in the back without their safety belts: I picture them travelling at speed towards the windscreen.

I become horribly aware that an emergency stop is imminent; having wrapped them against false fears of cold I wonder if they will survive the real threat.

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