Rehab the afternoon after being at work was harder than Danny dared admit. Rick had happily knocked off early and taken Danny to his rehab appointment, even offered to sit in the car and wait for him, then drive him home. But Danny had organised Tracey to pick up him and he was glad he had because he would hated to have shown Rick how much pain he was in after the session.

Hiding the pain from Tracey was pointless, even Danny knew they’d been together too long for her not know when he was in pain. He assumed it was one of those things all married or long term couples learned to do with each other. It was also something many couples began to ignore after being together for too long. For Danny and Tracey they had been through both stages, starting out years ago noticing each other’s pain, then gradually ignoring it until they’d finally come full circle and began noticing again.

However on the day Danny limped out of his rehab appointment on his crutches and to the car where Tracey was parked, less than twenty metres from the door, even a blind man and his equally blind assistance dog would have been able to tell Danny was in pain. His foot was in the air only a few centimetres, just far enough to keep it from hitting the ground as he hobbled, while still keeping his bandaged knee as straight as he could. Each time he put the two crutches down on the ground and swung his body through, something he’d been getting quite apt with since leaving hospital, it was easy to see the pain contort his face.

If Tracey could have parked closer to the door she would have but three other vehicles where parked before her, presumably picking up or dropping off patients just like she was. Seeing his pain, a moment or two after he came into view around the larger mini bus type van in front of her Tracey immediately jumped out of the car to assist him but of course it was too late.

As Tracey rounded the front of the car and stepped close to Danny he let fly. “Too fucking late, just get back in the car.” Danny said to her.

“I’m sorry I didn’t see you coming around the van.” Tracey replied still stepping close to offer her assistance.

“Just leave me alone!”

This time Tracey heeded his angry words and made her way back around to the driver’s seat without saying another word. It took Danny longer to climb in the car than it did her and she watched every pain expression. She knew saying anything would risk an explosion but she couldn’t watch his pain and not at least try to show some compassion.

“Is there anything I can do?” Tracey asked.

“Just take me home.” Danny replied, his voice wasn’t raised but she could tell it was laced with anger.

“Ok,” she started the car and put the gear selector into drive. “Just let me know if there is anything.”

Once her seatbelt was on Tracey pulled out of the parking space and slowly took off. They were still in an ambulance zone and safe area of the hospital and that area included a pedestrian walkway across the road to where the bus stopped. As Tracey drove up to the pedestrian crossing at less than ten kilometres per hour she looked both ways and saw that they were clear, what she didn’t see was the toddler running from his mother.

Whether the toddler knew where he was going or not didn’t matter he had no road sense and before anyone knew what was going on he was running out on the road in front of Tracey’s car. Because Tracey was travelling so slowly and obeying the rules of the restricted area she did not need to slam the brakes on to stop the car, it was just a tap and the car nosed forward to a stop as the toddler ran in front of her, followed by his mother.

From where Tracey sat the chance of actually hitting the child were very slim, she was moving slowly and completely under control, but that didn’t stop the scared mother being very apologetic as she scooped her child up into her arms and turned around to the car.

“I’m sorry. So sorry. Thank you for stopping. I’m so sorry.” the woman was saying, tears were in her eyes and the look on her face was one of huge relief.

Tracey smiled, waved and nodded to the women hoping she didn’t scald herself too much and that her child had learnt his lesson, both of which she guessed wouldn’t happen. What she didn’t realise until it was too late was that as she was doing what she was doing Danny was opening his window.

“Why don’t you fucking keep an eye on that kid of yours you stupid bitch. We could have run both of you over without even trying!”

“DANNY!” Tracey screamed at the top of her lungs. “How dare you!”

Tracey knew Danny wouldn’t apologise for his outburst so instead of trying to make him she checked the crossing to make sure it was clear then took off, a little faster than she intended but still under the speed limit.

“How dare I what?” Danny said. “We nearly hit her and her fucking kid because she couldn’t control the little shit.”

Tracey pulled onto the exit road of the hospital and drove on. “There was no way I was going to hit them. You’re a racing driver, you know as well as I do that I had control of that situation. You also know that the outburst was not needed.”

“You could have hit her!”

“Don’t be ridiculous Danny. I understand you are in pain but there is no need for outbursts like that.”

Danny’s voice was still angry and it was getting louder as Tracey pulled up to the traffic lights at the entrance to the hospital and the main road.

“Well maybe next time she will pull her fucking head out of her arse and watch her kid.”

“And maybe next time you’ll put your head back up your arse and shut the fuck up because you trust your wife to drive like you taught her and you know she’s always prepared for such things.”

Previous Car Racing story here.