Accident no.14

2009

My eyes are tired from too much looking and the sky has troubled me all day. I’m driving to Reading in my Mark-2 Ford Escort. It’s not quite vintage but I bought it recently because of its shiny metallic green paintwork, chrome bumpers and gleaming hubcaps. Above 60 miles-per-hour the engine is extremely loud and the cars in the rear view mirror stretch vertically because of the vibrations that hum through the bodywork.

The sun is glancing off the three lanes of wet tarmac ahead. I see the banks of floating red taillights too late. Three people slowly emerge from their cars – the driver of the Ford Fiesta behind me, and the driver of a Ford Sierra behind that. A girl with a shaky voice tells me that it wasn’t her fault. I find some paper and a large black marker-pen in my glove compartment. As we write in the rain the clumsy letters of our names and addresses slip and blur down the paper. The traffic has started to move again. Three strangers stand together in the central lane and watch as the hiss of the passing tires flattens the plastic and glass from their cars.

Eventually the police close the motorway and tow us to the side.