The car ride

I could kill Sarah, I really could. As if having my crazy mother to stay isn’t bad enough, she decides to dump Bruno on us for a month! My dog indeed. Yes, fair enough, he was my dog, but he became her dog a year ago when she begged us to leave him with her – when she said that her family was incomplete without a dog, and that he would remind her of her best friend, me, and all the happy times and laughs we’ve had training him.

Well thanks a lot, Best-friend – not.

‘God damn it! Get off will you, Bruno… No, Aiden, I have not lost my temper and I’m not in a mood. I just don’t think Bruno should sit on my knee while I’m driving do you? No well, so pull a bit harder will you? No, you can’t take your belt off… I mean it Aiden! Liz, could you just leave the radio alone – classical is fine – it’s what you wanted a moment ago – please Liz, I’m really jagged just now, please, just leave it alone! Thank you. Oh Christ. Don’t cry. Liz, please don’t cry. Okay, let’s have the play, it’s just that you said you didn’t like it before, you said it was rubbish – but okay we’ll try again, and yes the boring bit has probably gone. Aiden, I told you not to take your belt off!’

I swerve to a stop, open the boot and grab some string, which I’d happily throttle him with – Bruno that is. I don’t throttle him though, I remain cool, slip it through the ring on his collar and attach him tightly to the seat-belt buckle, before cunningly winching his head in until it has only a few inches manoeuvrability. Then I refasten Aiden’s seat belt and mutter a few banned words – at Sarah, whose ugly grinning mug has muscled its way into my brain.

Aiden, all of four years old, tells me calmly that he thinks I should take some deep breaths until I regain my sense of balance. Annoying little shit – always right. Precocious little jumped up know all… and I pray that someone, someday will bully him down to size, so that he can operate on a healthily neurotic level like the rest of us.

Bruno looks contrite, I’m happy to say. I climb back into the driver’s seat and resist the urge to slap Liz’s hand as she intently whizzes us through the channels, pausing at each for a few seconds, as though she’s finally found what she’s looking for. I can’t stand this. I fumble bellow the dash for a few moments until I locate the wires, pray they’re not part of the engine and pull one…

Blissful silence.

I flex my hands, glance at Liz who is fiddling happily with the silent radio, catch Bruno’s look of pathetic self-pity in the rear view mirror as well as Aiden’s silent pout, acknowledge a brief but precious tingle of triumph and turn on the ignition.



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