There was a shudder and bump. Then the car veered. Everything happened in slow motion. One second previous, I checked my 17 month old son in his capsule in the back of the sedan via the rear vision mirror. The next second, I was fighting to control the car turning sideways, scattering gravel across the road, off the bitumen, down into the channeled gully and further, a scream rising in my head as the wheel twisted in my hands, foot beginning to pummel the brakes clutch, no, don’t brake, accelerate but too late, over on the side passenger side, God my son, my son, then clattering onto the roof to stay upended with a shattering of windscreen glass over the front of the car, the roar of the motor, the scream s of my son, someone else screaming, smell of petrol, shudder and roar of the engine, luckily having the presence of mind to turn off the motor, creaking, scratching through the roof trying to kick the door open, crushed shut, screaming God no, I promise please, no, no, do not let us burn alive amongst the spinifex bushes and wire grass tussocks, 125 kilometers from Cunnamulla to the north and 120 kilometers from Bourke to the south, tearing at the seat belt twisting out of the bucket seat that has become an unusual shape, seeing my son, comforting him, hold his hand, praying , gotta to get out of here, smell of fuel leaking somewhere, crawling through the passenger side, kicking, kick, kick, kick – a violent birth, blood running down hands and legs as flesh tears at metal and plastic, frantic energy, get baby out, get baby out, before we burn, finally out cannot get baby out through front bucket seats gap, to back door, pushing, rocking to get misshapen door open, finally open, crawl in and drag capsule unbuckle child, clasp him to chest and haul out from car and walk, staggering run to the road and the shade by the sign that says 125 kilometers Cunnamulla, shaking, soothe baby, do I want to go back to car to get bottle(?) no wait it might catch fire, he has only me and he cannot flag down car, wait and wait, talk to him, rock him and say ok its ok, we are all right, car gone, we are all right and that’s all that matters.
The car sits 10 meters off the road, tires still spinning and two front ones burst, rubber on one hangs at a crazy angle, baby has quietened, I crazy with relief, heart still pounding, stroke his wispy head of hair and say Thank you G-D, thank you for life, thank you for giving us more time….thank you G-D, thank you.