Four hours into our drive to Venda, Limpopo, and my father has his eyes glued to the windscreen, his hands tightly wrapped around the steering wheel in the two ten position trying to make his way through the pouring rain. My mother wrestles with the tuning on the radio trying to find a station that will hold up in the middle of nowhere. My sister, like any other fresh-out-of-teenagehood girl or boy is texting away and me, well I’m listening to Michael Bolton’s Soul Provider. I should have my eyes closed at the intensity of the lyrics but they are wide open and thank goodness because at this very moment my father violenlty swerves to the left. He’s trying to avoid crashing into the maroon Jeep in front of him but it is too late. With the rain, the heavy car and the slippery roads, the grip of the tires and the breaks are no match and there’s impact.
With the pouring rain on the N1 it is difficult for anyone, including my father who is the driver, to see through the windscreen so naturally he is focused on the road. He makes no effort to engage in conversation with any of us. Suddenly he swerves violently to the left. The breaks were fully down, the car skiied on its own. If it was not the grace of the Lord and my father amazing sreering control we would have caused a pile up.
I watched as my mother took her hand There is not a sound that comes from anyone in the car. My mother’s hands held her face and while her mouth was open no sound left her. “Holy shit” my sister uttered as she looked up from her phone, “what just happened?” My mother, still quiet, turns to my dad and watches as he frantically tries to unbuckle his seat to get out of the car to assess the damage. The only thing I can mouth is “would you like the umbrella?” It seems appropriate when I ask what with the pouring rain, however when he gets his seat belt unbuckled and rushes out of the car I realise the silliness of my offer.
The driver that my father hit hurried towards my father with a big smile on his face. As he reached out his right hand to shake my father’s hand he says “these things happen”. After an exchange of personal information we convoy to the nearest police station to report the incident so that insurance would pay out.
While we were not hurt and both cars experienced minimal damage we drove away from that accident with a greater appreciation for one another and the lives that we live. It is unfortunate that it took this incident to open the eyes of our eyes and manifest within us a refreshed appreciation for life. Especially after my sister says: “what if we cheated death? Its going to get us, like in Final Destination.”