The back road is a bumpy windy lane visited by pheasants and a scattering of other morning birds at this time of day. When rushing for the commuter bus, I avoid the back road and skim faster than usual on the main road.Having only emerged from sleep one and a half minutes earlier, he continued on the back road in what seemed a slumber, cautiously as though he were in slow motion. Was it my imagination? He braked at every curve in the road and slowed for nature as the birds crossed our path over and over, flittering from one bush and back again.
Nonchalantly, I leaned far into his direction, my hands creating a distraction in the center console as my eyes sneaked a peek at the clock located on the driver's center panel. Until this car, we've never had a dashboard where the clock is obscured from everyone's view except the driver. You wouldn't think it mattered so. Yet logic prevails and it's Cutiepie's first comments as a passenger. “Where's the clock?” How do I know we'll be on time, Mam?” Like that, if you're not driving and you're not a back seat driver, you're a watch clocker. Trust me, I know. God help you if you're both.
Four minutes gone and we're still on the back road. I'd have the car on solid pavement in less than two minutes. If we don't cross the river by half six, we risk missing the bus. He read my mind; its twitching was obvious as I fidgeted in my seat like a school child waiting to be excused to the toilet. “We won't be late. The bus won't leave without you.” I don't believe him.
Earlier, the reminder of our cars--one at the house and the other left at the pub overnight--hung in our bedroom as I rang out the countdown. “I'm leaving in ten minutes.” He grumbles, “I'm getting up.” I don't believe him.
Soon, “I'm leaving in five minutes...with the ONLY car,” I added that for effect. The vehicle situation was his undoing and I'd be lying if I said I didn't take an ounce of pleasure in these awakening warnings. Whether or not he'd arise was anyone's guess.
He did and we left four minutes late for a nine-minute journey. I spent the entire ride wondering if he always drives this slowly in the morning or is he intentionally winding me up? In between clock checking, I try to distract myself by remarking on the dry sunny morning that it is and how Friday is just around the corner. I put worry aside and apply my make up. Eyes back on the road, a farmer's lorry has cut a front of us at the river's crossing. I groan. He sighs. We emerge on the national road, and my eyes scan the highway for the big white Wexford bus.
As we creep along the rock wall into Enniscorthy, I spy the waiting headlights at the bus stop and tell him the bus is there. “Already?” He follows along the one-way lane loop through the town's centre and assures me the bus can't leave yet. I don't believe him.
He pulls alongside the bus and in what appears as a heroic gesture, swings the car in front of the coach bus. At the final thirty second mark, I relish in the luxury of being driven to the bus. I thank him and tell him how much I enjoy his company. I say I hope he has a good morning and maybe he can go back to sleep before he has to go to work. I thank him for driving me in.
He says, “No problem. I'll be back home in just a few minutes.”
Now I believe him.