• Vol. 10
  • Chapter 09

Grey Day

Fine, grey drizzle blurs my vision, making distance hard to judge. I flick the wipers on, grimacing as they squeal across the windscreen. Traffic crawls ever slower until we reach an impasse. I’m boxed in by glum men, in grey suits, driving their characterless cars to their no doubt tedious jobs. No hope of moving any time soon. Will this incessant greyness never end?

Cursing loudly, I turn off the protesting wipers. Misty droplets join forces, gathering momentum. I’m mesmerised, trying to predict the paths they’ll take as they trickle down the glass. The radio newscaster drones on – yet more doom and gloom. Perhaps some fresh air will revive me. I open the window.

An elegantly shod, middle-aged woman is walking slowly towards me. At least her cerise coat adds some colour to the dreary scene, even if it does clash wildly with her enormous, red umbrella. She must like being the centre of attention – a bright flower in a monochrome land.

No! It can’t be. Not here… not now… not her. I look away, praying she hasn’t seen me. Dear God, please make this traffic move. I enter into desperate plea bargaining with the Almighty, which wouldn’t be quite so hypocritical if I actually believed in his existence. However, that small, technical detail doesn’t prevent me from promising him a whole host of things if he will only get me out of here.

Ears straining, I hardly dare to breathe. I can feel the pulse in my temple – a sure sign of an impending headache. I scrabble in the glove compartment. There must be some paracetamol in here somewhere. I’m still scrabbling frantically when I hear her call my name…


Grey Day

“Sarah? Oh Sarah, it is you. At last I’ve found you… after all this time. Where have you been? Why wouldn’t you answer my calls? How could you be so cruel?”

She’s bending in at my open window, still talking, still asking questions without ever waiting for an answer. She hasn’t changed a bit. Well, other than adding a few wrinkles and grey hairs. I shake my head and feel for the buttons controlling the windows and door locks. I try to steady my breathing, tell myself I’m so much stronger than her now; she can’t hurt me any more. It’s true, I’m physically stronger but, then again, it was never really her physical prowess that was the problem. The beatings hurt of course, but I’d take a hundred beatings over the ritual humiliation of her narcissistic power games. I’m torn between putting my window up and locking all the doors, or jumping out of the car and legging it.

Suddenly, the car in front lurches forward. I follow suit, shaking her off like a dog with a parasitic flea. She stumbles backward. I watch her in my rearview mirror. She’s standing open-mouthed, face as scarlet as her umbrella. Grey doesn’t seem so bad after all.