At 5:26am on a Saturday morning I am in the backseat of a cab on the way to work. The taxi rattles down Parramatta road, BBC World News on the radio.
My head is heavy. My eyelids are heavy. I open the window in an attempt to speed up the groggy transition from sleep to consciousness. Cold wind lashes my face.
The cab slows down. Lights are flashing up ahead and I can see emergency vehicles. A fire truck. Police. Ambos. The taxi driver turns the radio down.
We are approaching a crash site.
I am awake now.
As we pass, we see a white hatchback on its side wrapped around a pole. Somehow the car has also penetrated a shop front. Men and women in uniform are standing in semi circles.
It is obvious someone has died here, not long ago.
My heart drops. My stomach drops. I remind myself to breath and I try not to cry.
The slide show in my head: A young woman, dumped by her lover | Drunk, confused, she speeds, thrashes down the empty streets | Tears blur her vision | In her last moment she sees the pole hurtling towards her | She knows it’s the end | A deafening crash | A perfect, eerie silence | Two officers knock on her parents’ door at dawn | A mother collapses to the ground | A lover in shock.
Again, I remind myself to breath.
We pass the site and the taxi driver starts laughing and laughing uncontrollably.
“Oh my god! How can you be so stupid?” he cackles.
“Honestly, how could someone do that to themselves?”
He shakes his head. Slaps his hand on the steering wheel.
“You have to be a goddamn fool!”
His laughter dies down, we continue the journey in silence.