Anal is what she always called me. For keeping a ‘space blanket' in the car. You know the things, silver looking that they give to marathon runners. ‘You won't need that thing' she'd say. ‘You're such a pessimist; have a little hope'. Bless her, she's not with us anymore. Gone last autumn. Might sound awful but I‘ve coped pretty well. Feet firmly grounded was always me, she was the action, the spark. I guess that went with her. Of course our girl, Fran, was devastated, a wreck. She's so angry. And quiet now too. But she is glad of the space blanket.
Our estate, god knows why we need it, failed on the way home. It's only thirty miles round to my father's place and it was spluttering on the way there. It's my fault of course; Fran reminded me of that! Heh, just like her! But I really should have been more observant; things have been slipping my mind recently, tangents forming at every chance... Should have been watching the meter.
Can't stay in the car when it's on the hard shoulder; always reading those horror stories of cars ploughed into by semi's and the like. Not risking anything like that what with Fran with me. So we're standing in the cold now, Fran with the blanket, me, well, me a little bloody freezing! The cars whip past this motorway. It's yet to have the speed cameras of other sections. They blast the moisture from the road's surface up and spin and eddy the rain into every tiny area our skin is exposed. It's a nasty evening, the sort we've been having recently. Fran is shivering even with my coat and the blanket.
She's like a gleaming pile of some precious metal the way she's huddled. The beams off the passing cars streak whites and reds and she shimmers. Changing though; always changing, never the same. So much like her mother.
I cope, but I think of her mother all the time. Fran reminds me of course; just like her! Her vibrancy, she had that interest in everything that is usually lost with age. You know, just something youthful. She was the spark and that kept me grounded. Maybe, I'm getting more like her now she's gone. That has consoled me that thought. Maybe I've been encouraging it? Who knows? I'm not the thinker, I'm the do-er. Was the do-er.
Fran, my daughter, my girl, is shivering. More than before, involuntary; not just trying to get me to let her back into the car. I act:
Fran. I call her and she comes over. Hand on her shoulder, I lead her round the car to the open doors on the far side, the side next to the road. The cars whip by so fast, so fast! I shield her with me. So many accidents, so much destruction. The rain is a blizzard now, it's lashing our clothes. Behind me is chaos, a maelstrom. Speed and violence. The blanket slips and disappears, flying away. I lose sight of it immediately. Gone. I pause for just a second: