Authors note: This story is darker than most of my stuff lately. It’s not blood curdling and it’s not violent just a bit darker and lacking a happy ending that all my Midnight Cowboy stories do. 🙂
Here I am again, another day, another 600 kilometres, another lonely night. Just another steering wheel attendant cruising the open road. It was a job that started so well more than ten years ago.
I’d come from hauling fifty four metre road trains. Three trailers of angry, four legged beasts with horns from the remote outback stations to the city ports for export. I was my own boss but I was also my own worst enemy. I was good at my job but poor at business.
When I finally saw the writing on the wall, at about the same time as the bank decided they preferred to sell my truck rather than have me keep ignoring repayments, a large part of my world crashed down around me. I was pissed at the bank, I was pissed at the farmers who stopped offering me work and I was pissed at the world.
After several months of wallowing in my own self pity I met the woman I would eventually fall in love with. What she saw in me I don’t know, I was a mess, hardly fit for living with myself let alone living with anyone else. While love blossomed we became inseparable, we became one, it was a life of bliss.
Within twelve months of the bank selling my road train I was clawing my way back to the top. I still don’t know how it happened but with the love of my life beside me I was unstoppable. I brought a new truck, this time with a freezer on the back. I picked up local work, albeit an nightly run dragging frozen chicken from the city to fast food shops up to 300ks from the city.
Life was good, life was grand, and the crossroads of my life all seemed to have green lights. I was riding high and riding free. Then came the news that not just floored me it completely obliterated me. The woman who had saved me told me she’d been sleeping with her boss. There was no sorry, no ‘I didn’t mean it to happen this way’, just a quick goodbye and she was gone.
That was four months ago.
Unlike the last time my world fell apart this time I still had my truck and with the pay out I got from the quick sale I was keeping it. Pity my own sanity wasn’t as easy to keep.
For the past four months I’ve been driving up and down the same stretch of highway with the same thoughts throbbing through my head. I owe her everything. I love her like no one else I would could ever love. And hour after lonely hour as I ride that white line into the darkness I pine for her. I don’t care that she cheated on me, I don’t care that she lied to me.
Over the last month or so the pinning has been getting worse, I’ve tried to ring her, tried to text her and even tried to email her but she refuses any communication. I spend my days barely sleeping, I spend my evenings barely eating and I spend my long lonely nights struggling to stay awake and struggling to drive on.
Last week was the anniversary of the day we met and how did I celebrate it? I chose a tree. That’s right, I chose a massive gum tree. The tree stands about thirty five kilometres south west of Smithfield and has done for more than eighty years apparently. It’s about fifty meters off the highway, it’s solid and there is nothing in front of it.
For three days I eye balled this tree in the dark as I passed it at just under ninety kilometres per hour, it’s look, it’s size, everything about it was right. On the fourth day I actually stopped the truck, grabbed a torch and went to inspect it closer. Every thought I’d had about it was confirmed.
So tonight was the night. As I passed the thirty kilometre post I switched off the speed limiter and pushed my right foot down further. As usual the road was empty. With less than a kilometre to go until I could see my tree I looked at the speedo, it was reading 129kph. I removed my seat belt and lined the truck up perfectly.
The twenty five tonne Mack launched itself off the highway, across the shoulder, onto the grass and directly at the tree. Less than two seconds later the truck slammed into the large tree. Without the protection of the seatbelt my upper torso was propelled forward, my legs hooking under the steering wheel the only thing that stopped me flying out the window.
The sound of shattering glass and bending metal filled my head. Glass showered the inside of the truck cabin as it crumbled around me. I could feel my legs being pinned under the steering wheel. I could feel the crumbling frame work from around the windscreen being forced against my skull and I could feel the pain screaming through my entire body.
For the first time in four months I felt happy, sore but happy. I felt that I had finally achieved something, albeit something most normal people wouldn’t understand.
I’ve now be pinned in this truck, my body screaming in pain, steam and smoke swelling around me for what must be twenty minutes and I just can’t help but wonder why I can’t finish anything properly.