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Linda's Drive

Page 2

Neil Blick

A flushed, sobbing face stared out at me, it belonged to a large woman crying “Help me, help. I’m lost. I’ll be too late”. Her plea sounded as though it had erupted from deep within.

Having worked as a psychologist in regional Victoria for many years I had heard many such pleas before, pleas of unrestrained anguish in childlike voices coming from adults, back to forgotten infant night terrors. Such cries can ignite private defences and unexpectedly arouse our own raw reactions, if left unchecked. So now, on a sunny morning, I am looking into the swollen eyes of a woman in her fifties, perhaps falling back into her own, uneasy past pain and hurt. She sounds like a crying infant waiting for a parent to come and make it all better. It is a request I could hardly choose to ignore.

I was the one right there, right then to see her raw, immediate anguish. Face-to-face on a crumbling bitumen road. A directive voice from my time as a teacher came to the fore. “I might be able to help, but we need to get off this road right now, it is too dangerous to be stopped here”. She looked dismayed. “Drive forward to those trees at the side of the road”, I pointed, “I will ride ahead, follow me”. A small nod of agreement, then a billow of dust blew up as a big black Audi swerved past.

I rode quickly ahead to the shade and minimal protection of roadside saplings, the white car followed.  “I’m lost, I’m lost”, she shouted. Her voice straining in distress, she held her mobile phone out the window so I could grasp some evidence of her situation. I could see the pale green GPS maps displayed.  I tapped the screen into life. A matronly English voice announced in measured automatic words, ‘Turn RIGHT at the next intersection in two kilometres’.

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