THE DRIVING LESSON by Steven Havelock
The phone was answered on the fifth ring.
“Hello, is that You Drive driving school?”
“Yes. What can I do for you?”
“I need a driving lesson,” said Saria.
“Okay, not a problem. When would you like to book for?”
“Next Friday, the 16th July, but I need a motorway lesson.”
“Have you passed?”
“Yes, I passed twenty two years ago but have never driven on the motorway, so I would like a lesson to practice my motorway driving.”
“Hmmm…. We don’t normally do motorway lessons but I will ask Simon and get back to you.”
Later that night Saria sat on her sofa with a glass of wine in one hand, staring morosely at the photos she held in the other.
My makeup is ruined but I don’t care…I don’t care about anything anymore…David…Oh David….
The next day Saria was at home staring at the photos again.
I’m so sad. All I do is stare at these photos all day.
Saria’s mobile rang.
“Hi, Saria, it’s Clare from You Drive driving. We booked your motorway lesson with Simon for next Friday 16th like you asked.”
“Thank you…Thank you so much.”
Saria ended the call. My head is spinning…I feel so dizzy.
She burst into tears…
The next day at 2pm Saria was still in bed as the afternoon sun tried to make its way through her curtains. Saria’s phone rang. Looking at the screen she saw it was her elderly mother calling.
“How are you? Are you alright? Just that you haven’t called for three days?”
“Sorry mum, I’ve been really busy with work.” A fake happy voice.
“He’s just in the garden messing with his tomato plants.”
“Mum, I got a lot of work on that I need to get done. Will call you later.”
“Oh…Are you sure you are okay? “
“Yes mum, I’m fine.”
“He’s fine. mum…He’s just fine. Got to go mum, speak soon.”
Saria ended the call and burst into tears. She started to think again about her and David like she had done for the last three weeks.
I remember when I first met David. His dark black hair and boyish charm swept me off my feet.
She looked at the photos she had next to her. She stared at the man in the picture, his blond hair gleaming.
The first time she’d seen the photos of the two figures in the picture she hadn’t noticed the similarities.
My marriage to David was the happiest day of my life. Now…Now…This…I suspected something wasn’t right, ever since David left me the note on the kitchen table. A note…A piece of flipping paper…Which said…no, I can’t bear to think about it…it cuts too deep…The pain…The pain is unbearable…
A plan had been forming in Saria’s mind ever since the private gave her the photos.
Eventually the day of the lesson dawned. Today’s the day. She saw the You Drive car pull up in front of her house.
Saria went to her goldfish tank.
“Bye Mickey…Bye Mouse…” she said to her two goldfish. She knew this would be the last time she would see them.
She switched the oxygen pump off from the mains and blew the fish a soft sad kiss. David bought me those fish…and I loved them the way I loved David…
She stared at them a moment longer. Okay, let’s do this.
She went to the kitchen and picked up a knife. A fetid rotting smell drifted in from the open kitchen window.
“God…You’re one of the best drivers I’ve seen. You sure you need motorway lessons?” asked Simon.
“I need this lesson.”
“Okay, just pull up on the left here and we will fill up.”
Saria did as instructed, and Simon got out to put some petrol in the small new Fiesta.
Today’s the day…She sat staring into nothing, thinking about her life. A tear slid down her right cheek, she wiped it quickly. A few seconds later Simon was back. “Okay. Just follow the Satnav, and we will be fine.”
Two hours later they were speeding along the motorway at 70 miles an hour.
“When I said you were a good driver, I wasn’t wrong.”
Saria looked at the time and date on the dashboard. Friday 16 July: 2:00
I remember…I met David on Friday 16 at the office where I worked. Today’s the day, she thought again.
“I met my husband today exactly four years ago.”
“Reach to the back seat and pull out that folder I brought with me.”
Simon seemed a little bemused but did so. He opened the folder. “Jonathan?!”
“Lady, why have you got pictures of my new boyfriend Jonathan?” asked Simon, staring at the blond hair and boyish features.
“My husband’s name was David and he had dark black hair.” She continued. “I wondered why David would leave me.” She said it like she was talking to herself, doing nothing more than describing the weather.
Simon sat waiting to hear more. A confused expression on his face turned to fear as Saria put her foot down. The car went to 80…90…100…
Sarai started spinning the wheel and snaking in and out of traffic. “Lady, are you crazy?! Slow down!” Simon slammed his foot down on the brake on his side of the specially fitted car.
Saria had prepared and anticipated. She pulled out a kitchen knife from under her blouse and stabbed Simon in his knee cap.
“When I first saw the pictures I didn’t recognise David!” Saria shouted over the noise of the car engine and Simon’s screams.
“I didn’t recognise him at first. Then I realised he was wearing a wig!”
“Why would he leave me? We were so happy together. We were planning to have a baby!”
The car engine squealed even louder. Smoke was coming out of the front bonnet.
“You asshole! You snatched him from me!”
Saria thought of her elderly mother again. Tears streamed down her cheeks. She remembered the last time she had seen David, decapitated; lying motionless and dead in her garden shed.
“Please! Please, lady, slow down!”
“See you in hell!”
Saria spun the wheel to the left and slammed into a large lorry.