The text message comes. I thought you were getting her, no wait, I thought you were getting her. I grab my bag and run.
I get to the car park and run to the lifts. The guy in front of me says “there will be a wait getting out, accident on Kings Way”.
I swear, then try to explain “my daughter needs to be picked up from aftercare by 6pm”. “I know your pain” he says, with a sympathetic smile.
Driving the 8 levels down through the car park, I call aftercare. The phone goes through to voice mail. I swear again.
I hit Kings Way. It’s almost dark, the lights of the cars in front of me are blinking in the twilight. In any other situation it might be pretty.
The cars just aren’t moving fast enough.
Finally I hit the tunnel. I hate that thing. The claustrophobic feeling it brings is too much tonight and when the voice cuts into the radio to tell me there are delays, I cry.
I come out of the tunnel and it’s dark. The freeway is busy but running smoothly and husband calls to let me know he is one his way. Do I want him to try to get there first, or go home and put the lights on? “Go home. I am almost there” I tell him between sobs.
“I am the worst mother in the world. Other parents don’t let this happen”, I cry. He tells me not to be silly. Drive carefully. Poss will be ok.
I hit my exit. There is a train. Of course there is a freaking train. My heart is quick and the phone to aftercare is still going through to voicemail. I am late. She will be worried.
I pull into the car park, grab my keys and run for the door.
There she is, waiting. The last kid there. She grabs her bag and hugs me. Says she was worried, but she was brave.
I said I tried to call but the phone was going through to voicemail. The aftercare girl tells me the phone is dodgy and needs replacing. “Thanks” I say, wanting to swear at her, knowing it’s not her fault. She grabs her keys and leaves us to let ourselves out.
I buy Poss Maccas on the way home. She is starving and it’s dinner time.
She has just gone to bed, covered in kisses. It’s the least I can do.