I shift the stick into gear. Check to ensure no traffic. Commence delicate balancing act of shoes hovering above accelerator pedal. With gradual clutch release, the vehicle is in motion – backwards.

An ear splitting scream is emitted from the scrape of metal upon metal. Glass explodes. Two bodies jump, necks jerk. Seat belts tighten. Car vibrates and shudders.

Embedded central to the boot compartment was a large pole with the back seat squashed to half its size, and windowless.

Wheels still smoking. Engine roaring. Automobile shuddering – backwards. Two feet stomp on brakes and the car stalls. Followed by a smoke-clearing silence.

One continuous ‘creak’ and skin begins to crawl from a racket reminiscent to nails scratching across glass. Add the sound of an off-key bugle bleating of bending iron with volume increasing to its crescendo, from the rear.

No, it’s overhead.

Our eyes shoot to the roof’s interior.  Birds screech. Our bodies flinch. I cover my scalp, wincing at the noise of twisting steel. It screams, bends, then topples over and bounces with an earthquake shake. A near miss of the bonnet by a whiskers breath and the car has become the centre of a triangle, between road and bent tee-pee styled pole.

Power lines whip freely like snakes across asphalt as houses are shut-down and neighbours start to poke their heads outdoors.

Inside the compacted sedan, I turn to my driving instructor and said, “So, that’s reverse gear, huh?

Do you remember your first driving lesson?

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