"And she stood to fly away"

Monday, April 20, 2009 | |

She was never confident with driving, but was getting better every time she got behind the wheel.

She had always been hesitant about it, mostly on account of her revered Grandmother’s own reluctance to learn. Ever since she could remember, she’d watch her Grandmother climb happily into the front passenger seat, whilst her silent and stoic Grandfather took the wheel. At first, she found the idea of being driven around very chivalrous, but as she grew older, it saddened to think of how stranded the poor woman would be if - and when - he died. It horrified her to think that she would one day too be stranded and helpless, reliant on public transport or trapped in her own home, so at the tender age of 19, she got behind the wheel.

She continued life in the passenger seat long after she learned to drive - putting it down to a lack of confidence in her own skill, as well as her somewhat anachronistic desire for a fedora-topped man to drive her smiling, headscarfed self around the countryside. Besides, she never felt like a driver – she was too distracted by passing people, buildings and landscapes, and loved nothing more than to fold herself up in the passenger seat with the window down and her arm outstretched, feeling the wind rush between her fingers. She was conscious of the fact that she rarely drove her own vehicle – especially on cross-country expeditions – but preferred to let those around her take the wheel while she took care of the stereo; they never seemed to mind.

Today was different -he’d never been through this part of the country before, and she decided to show it to him with a longer route. With him in charge of their arsenal of music and her in charge of the wheel, they wound themselves around coastal roads and up into the foothills of the peninsula. Conversation whipped around tales of previous travel and sights seen, whilst the music weaved the story of the crane wife around driving drums and rousing strings. As she twisted the wheel through the many arcs of the long country road, rain appeared on the horizon. Normally too nervous to drive on the open road in bad weather, she continued ahead as both song and terrain reached their peak. Smiling to herself, she entered the oncoming rain, feeling fearless, and free.