Providence, by Aaron Corless
“Please, please, no, not now, no no no…”
He gripped the steering wheel tighter and shook it hard. The van started to lose power.
“No, please, come on old girl…”
With every fibre of his being he willed the van to keep moving. This delivery had to get there on time; this was his last chance. Without this paycheck, he was ruined. Simple as that.
He knew he should have done something about that ‘check engine’ light, he was going to, really, as soon as there was a stronger cashflow. The van spluttered and juddered. At that moment he did something he hadn’t done in a very long time. Not since he said his vows and married his sweetheart. He prayed.
He stumbled over the next word…
He took a deep breath. He could feel the steering wheel start to shake violently.
“I need this. I never ask for anything. For my family, I can’t let them down.”
He searched the furthest reaches of his mind for a prayer he could recite, all he knew with any confidence was the “Our Father”. He recited it twice and pushed the accelerator down harder.
The van gave a pitiful whine and gave up. He coasted it into the ditch. A headache was brewing again.
He turned the ignition. Nothing.
Again, he turned the ignition. Nothing.
He battered the steering wheel and the dash with his fists and kicked at the pedals. Exhausted he slumped on the steering wheel and quietly sobbed.
“Why me? What have I done, what have my family done to deserve this?”
He was about to scream abuse at the heavens when he was startled by a knock on the passenger window. An old man’s face peered in.
“Everything all right?”
The driver felt the urge to hurl his pent-up rage at the old man but thought the better of it. His head was starting to pound.
“I can give you a lift to town if you need? Won’t be much hope of a tow out here at this hour I’d say.”
He reluctantly accepted and climbed into the passenger side of the old man’s car. He scoffed at the miniature figure of the Virgin Mary blue-tacked to the dash.
As they drove, he was silent. It all started to sink in. There was no future, no hope, he had to go home to his wife and children as a pitiful failure.
He glanced at his face in the visor mirror and was horrified to see that the left side of his face seemed to have dropped, he tried to lift his hand to touch it, but he had no strength to lift his arms. The old man noticed him.
“Good Lord! Can you speak?”
He attempted to speak but the words came out slurred. The old man knew those symptoms all too well.
“Right then, hospital, don’t you worry, I’ll get you there, you’re going to be all right.”