I am expecting the nice man behind the till to tell me something miraculous, like he can just syphon out the diesel with a bit of pipe for £5. He says I mustn’t start the engine but paradoxically that I must get the car off the forecourt as soon as possible. He adds that it will probably cost £200 to fix it. Nice. Great. Thank God, we have breakdown cover. I wonder how much it would cost to fix without it?
When I telephone my husband, he replies with a gruff kind of preoccupied hello, and when he hears my appalling news he sighs and hangs up. I call him back because I don’t have any of the insurance details. He says he’s on to it. It’s dark now, and cold. I sit in the car but am too afraid to turn on the engine in case the car blows up. I read the back of a packet of crisps. I call my husband again, and he tells me, in barely controlled rage, to be patient.
He calls some time later, and says help will arrive in a couple of hours. So I walk home. We wait and we wait but nothing happens. At 9 the nice man from the garage, calls to say he will fine us £500 if we don’t move the car. He’s worried that a tanker of petrol will arrive and won’t have access to the pump.
My husband offers to go to the garage and wait with the car. A couple of hours pass. I ring him on his mobile, but there’s no reply. I feel appalling guilt that I’ve put him in this situation. I text. Then I ring again. By now it’s 11.00pm. I worry that perhaps he’s been mugged or run over, or killed. I imagine at any moment, a policeman will turn up to inform me of his death. I wonder whether to ring my friend and ask her to come over so I can go and search the streets. He can’t be still waiting. It’s about 1130 when I notice that there is a text form my husband. Its cryptic, it doesn’t make sense. I am thinking now, that the text is a desperate plea for help. He’s just managed to press one button on his phone before he was hit on the head. I am about to cry, when he comes through the door. I rush towards him. I have never been more pleased to see anyone in my whole life.