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Page 5

No automatic gear boxes back then. No anti-lock brakes. No air bags, seat belts or built-in crumple zones if you got it wrong. She swelled as she imagined saying all this to the policeman. Then deflated. He’d use her words as evidence against her: proof that she should be consigned to the dust heap of ancient history.

Hells, bells and buckets of blood! Should she take the driving test? She pictured herself waving her newly endorsed licence in the cop’s smug face.

At once another vision arose. Memories of her nursing home visits, those beloved and not-so-beloved faces begging for release.

Mustn’t dwell.

She shrugged and clambered into bed, reminding herself that old age had its compensations. Since she’d had her cataracts done, she had fallen in love with the world in a new way. It had been such an unexpected bonus to have the fog lifted and everything jump out with luminous intensity. Her capacity for noticing beauty seemed to have grown in proportion to the rest of her shrinking. It surprised her everywhere: the flash of parrot wings across the suburbs; young people bobbing their heads to whatever music was plugged to their ears, their bodies so fluid in movement; even the way something as humdrum as a glass of water could become a trembling poem of light.

She turned over to relieve twinges in her lower back and listened to the sound of rain making her garden grow.

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