It wasn’t even 9am and it was already shaping up to be one of the worst days of my life. You know those days when you really just wish that you could give up and go back to bed? To top it off as I made my way towards the city centre, I got stuck in traffic. Fantastic.
It’s chaotic at home at the best of times, what with three children, a husband, a teenage step child and a dog to take care of. It is always loud and messy. I get home from work, exhausted to toys strewn everywhere and clothes, muddy footprints and sticky finger marks everywhere. No matter how much I tidy and clean, there’s still more mess. The problem is there are six people living there and only me actually doing anything. It never dawns on Mike, my husband, to start dinner if I’m running late, or to do a bit of ironing so I can have a soak in the bath.
He doesn’t help, he actually makes it harder. Like walking across freshly clean floors with his big, clumsy boots on or leaving his dirty clothes, right there beside the wash basket. it drives me crazy. The kids are like a mini hurricane. Their clothes are dirty within minutes of getting dressed in the morning and no amount of effort will keep them clean and tidy. Their bedrooms are like a danger zone, you never quite know what you’re going to stand on. The teenager’s room isn’t much better; just, instead of Lego bricks and action figures, its makeup and clothes.
Like many women out there, I’m taken for granted. At home and at work where they expect me to do at least two people’s share of work for only one lot of pay. No matter how hard or fast I work, my in-tray is always overflowing, and someone else will usually go and take all the credit for my hard graft.
Sometimes it would be nice to get a week off from my life. Maybe I’d test out someone else’s for a while, or just curl up in a ball and hide somewhere. Who knows?
Finally the traffic started moving, albeit rather slowly. Gradually, it built up speed again. I turned the radio on. Looking up, I saw the cars collide. It was as though it was happening in slow motion. I wanted to shout out and stop it, but obviously, I couldn’t.
The sounds of brakes screeching, cut right through me. Though, I desperately wanted to turn away, it was strangely compelling to watch the events unfold. Even though, it must have been minutes until the emergency services arrived, it seemed like mere seconds. I watched, transfixed as I watched them cut open one of the cars to rescue the trapped driver.
Suddenly, my mind was empty. All the things I had been stressing about all morning, seemed less than insignificant as I watched a body being carried away from the wreckage, strapped to a stretcher, covered head to toe in a blanket. What were a few muddy footprints? What was a toddler tantrum? Nothing. I’d take a bad day over a wasted day any time.
What if I had been a few seconds earlier? What if I had been in that crash? What if I died and the last words I said to my husband were ‘Take those boots off!” What if the last expression my children saw on my face was of despair or anger over something which, in the grand scheme of things doesn’t really matter?