L-Plates

river park

free-range hens
pecking the grassy verge
or have they escaped

Grasping the armrest of the door as he swerves, I gain loud criticism for distracting my learner driver with trivia- “Mum, do you WANT me to crash? How can I concentrate when you’re talking?” asks the indignant young male.

How grateful I was to my own ever silent father, all those years ago, when he took me out to practice my skills in a battered white Mazda with no second gear. It is somehow harder for me, although similarly un-talkative by nature, to sit quietly beside my seventeen-year-old son in his father’s sleek, silver, company-owned Ford, as he accelerates modestly down the quiet country road.

He parks quite nicely in the asphalt car park, far away from the few other shoppers.

He carries the car keys through the shops as we find corn chips, grated cheese and other essentials for nachos. I feel the power shift and smile at this child of mine, taller and stronger, pushing the trolley and carrying the bags – but it is still my prerogative to pay.

A slight moment of anxiety during the reverse, but then we are away –“Oh look!” I shout, as we drive out into the dusk:

kangaroos grazing
in the paddock beside
the supermarket

© Julie Thorndyke

First published Yellow Moon 19 August 2006

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