You’re in Tesco buying a lasagne for one and half a litre of vodka when someone from the probation service calls to say he’s getting out early on the grounds of good behaviour. They thought you should know because even though he’s supposed to stay away, he still has links to the area. They keep talking about how this must be hard and how there’s support available, but you’re not listening. You’re watching the fluorescent lights grow a few shades brighter. You’re watching the shoppers move a lot quicker, as if they’re all in a movie and someone has hit fast forward. The tiled floor begins to melt beneath your feet, you feel like you’re falling and the person on the phone is saying, hello, hello, are you there? Are you there?
But you’re not there, instead you’re driving down the M4 at ninety-five with Meatloaf”s Bat Out of Hell on the stereo. It could have been a slick of oil leaked from the engine of a twenty-year-old truck or perhaps the curvature of the road was just too sharp for the speed of the car. Either way it doesn’t matter because when you hit the barrier on the bend and the back-end lifts and flips and flips again, everyone will think you did this deliberately. They’ll say she’s not been the same since that night. They’ll say she couldn’t take it anymore. They’ll say we tried but she must’ve been desperate. They’ll say his release pushed her over the edge, made her drive herself to the bottom of that ditch, but that’s not how you want this to end. You can smell petrol, the car bonnet is a screwed up mess of metal and there’s shattered glass everywhere you look, but you think you’ll be able to crawl out of the broken window and scream for help, if only you could release the seat belt. You tug and tug, but it won’t give and there’s nothing else for it but to bite through the fibres. It’s as tough as old tires but these teeth, these teeth of yours, are good teeth. These teeth have saved you once before, these teeth led to his arrest, his conviction, and you tell yourself this as you bite through the belt and drag yourself out and out and far away from the wreckage. And as you’re lying on the damp grass staring up at a bright blue sky and the sound of sirens echo in the distance, you finally understand, there’s a really good chance everything is going to be okay.