One Second

"Hey Al?... Al?... Wake up - I have something to tell you... Wake up Al... It's important..."

M poked me in the ribs, gently, but with enough force to be bloody annoying. I grunted an acknowledgment, then attempted to go back to sleep.

"So Al... I wanted to wait until I was sure, because it's a pretty big deal.. You know, with the twins and everything. OK, see, the thing is... Al? Al? Would you wake up! I'm trying to tell you something and it's really important!"

That's the trouble with being married to an actor. They always have something really important to tell you.

"Al? OK, here goes.. Al, honey, you're pregnant."

Smart arse.

"You are, aren't you?!!"

I was. At least, I thought I was.
He stood up and started jumping up and down on the bed, just enough to disturb two sleeping babies.... And be bloody annoying...

"Wakey wakey kidlets! We're going on a road trip!"

That's another thing about actors - They can be very melodramatic. By "road trip" he meant, "10 minute drive to the chemist"...


"Excuse me please, can you help me find the biggest, fanciest, most positive pregnancy test you have?"

While he was speaking he was also holding our 10 month old twins upside down and pretending he didn't notice. Eventually he followed the Chemist's stunned gaze, looked down at the madly giggling (and slightly red faced) children, swore loudly and returned the girls to an upright position.

Did I mention that actors also like to shock people occasionally..? Their idea of fun, apparently.

Back at home, and two pink lines later, I decided to have a little fun of my own...

"M, darling, do you know what the odds are of having two sets of twins?"

He studied my face, long and hard, but I was giving nothing away. He answered, "About 1 in a billion for identical twins. Something like 1 in 80 for fraternal twins though."
Not that he'd researched it or anything.

"Gee, we really like to run against the odds, don't we?"

Honestly, that shade of pale does nothing for his eyes.
What was I saying? Oh yes...

"How do you feel about Morgan and Charli - As names, I mean?"

Ahh, that's the colour I was going for. Less puce, more off white.
But I couldn't keep it up. I cracked under the pressure and couldn't hide my grin quickly enough.
So busted.

But I do like those names...


For the rest of the morning I was ambushed every time I walked around a corner. M would come up behind me, put his arms around my middle and ask if he could "rub my belly for luck".

Smart arse.

He left for work after lunch... Then he came back 5 minutes later to rub my belly for luck. He hadn't even made it out of the drive way before he came back a second time.
When he eventually got to work, he called every half hour. He'd start the conversation with, "So... What are you wearing..." Then as soon as I said something he'd reply, "Oh! It's you! ... I mean, Oh! Hi honey! So, what are you, er, doing?"

Once he did the whole 'silence on the other end of the line' thing. I said, "I'm wearing your tracksuit pants with no underwear, and I need to pee. So if you want to see your pants alive again, talk fast."

The telemarketer never called back.

He'd been pestering us all day and I nearly didn't answer the phone when he called on his way home from work.
He asked me what I was wearing, then he said he had something for us to have a little baby celebration. He asked if I could get the girls out of bed.. "And maybe poke them a bit... So they'll be happy to see me when I get home."

I asked him what sort of things he had to celebrate, and if chocolate would be involved.

"One second..." he said.

He sounded distracted.

Worse - He sounded serious.

There was screeching
Then crunching
Crackling through the phone line
Then nothing.

Oh no.

I called back immediately.
Voice mail.

I got the girls out of bed, I poked them a bit as I put them in the car, then I drove.

The phone was probably just broken so he couldn't call me and tell me he was fine...
If there had been an accident he would probably need a lift home...
Oh well, I hope he still has the chocolate.

No sirens, no flashing lights.
That's a good sign.
Down the hill.
Around the corner.
Still no flashing lights.
Hmm, left or right?
He must have been shopping - shops are that way.
Down the road.
Around the bend.

Oh no.

Broken glass.
Crumpled metal.
Bits of M's car.

Oh no.

Now I hear sirens and see flashing lights.

The front half of M's car is sandwiched between another car and a tree.
It doesn't look good.

I am on my way over to him when someone comes towards me.
I don't care who it is
But then they are stopping me from getting to M and that makes me care.

I get angry and panic takes hold.

I need to see M.
I need to see him NOW.

I get around whoever is stopping me.

Then I see M.

I see his body
But he is not here any more
He is gone

M is dead.

Earlier that day, a man was having a few drinks at his brother's house after work.
As they drank, the brothers exchanged work highlights and low lights, they made a preliminary assessment of their little sister's new boyfriend, they joked about their wives and their horrible cooking, and in light of this last discussion, they decided on going a third round of 2 minute noodles before dinner.

Then it was time for the man to go home.

The distance was not walkable - but he could easily have ridden the bike that was sitting, unused, in the shed.
A taxi would not have cost too much, nor taken too long.
Buses ran every half hour - they stopped right outside his brother's door and would have dropped him 10 meters from his own.
His brother's wife would be home shortly and she could have given him a lift when she went to pick up take away.
He could have called his own wife and asked her to pick him up.

But all these options seemed like such a hassle.
It was only a few blocks...
And he knew the roads like the back of his hand.
There were never any cops around... No cop, no crime, right?
And besides - He could handle his alcohol.

So the man chose to drive.

He pulled out of his brother's driveway at 7:24pm.
"Damn!" - His favourite TV show started in just six minutes.
At 7:25pm - He glanced at the clock and sped up a little.
At 7:26pm - He sped up a little more.
At 7:27pm - He came to a straight stretch of road and sped up a LOT more.
At 7:28pm - He was one block from home, on a road that he knew like the back of his hand. If he put his foot down, he might just make it.

He probably would have made it, too.
Except that at 7:29pm - The man ran a stop sign.

He was traveling at almost 120km/hr when he drove straight into another car.

The driver of the other car, M, was killed instantly.

M did not get to see our twin daughters turn one.
He was not there for the birth of our youngest.
He will never be here for birthdays.
For Christmas.
To hear the "I love you"s.
See the smiles.
Give the cuddles.

He'll miss every moment.

Every smile
Every tear
Every word
Every whisper
Every breath

Every second.

M's family -
His mum, his dad, his brothers, his children, his friends -

They'll miss him

And ache for him

Every morning
Every night
Every day

Every second.

The man -
He was physically unharmed.

But he did miss his TV show.

No matter who you are
No matter how invincible you think you are
No matter how much you love your television

It is never OK to get behind the wheel drunk.
It is never OK to speed.

It is never OK
For anyone

Not even for one second.


Alison said...

Since Daddy Kewl was killed, I have spoken about our story at various Drink Driver education programs and other relevant groups in order to raise awareness and promote a zero tolerance attitude toward speeding and drink driving.

I've recently been given the opportunity to work on a new campaign centered around the idea of split second decisions having life altering outcomes - aiming to capture that all important second and swing it in favour of safe choices.

This post is our story, and it comes with a personal request from me, to each and every one of you:

Please, make your every second count.

Melody said...

I try Al, I try.

What an opportunity for you though Al with this campaign. Spread your story and your job shall be done.

Living in the UAE with a zero alcohol policy works well. No drink drivers. But it does not stop cars speeding. It is ridiculous how fast cars go (not just blaming Emiraties here, but also ex-pats). I saw a terrible car accident yesterday morning after dropping Monet off at Kinder. I felt sick to the stomach.

People think they are safe when they get behind the wheel - they are not. I like to think I am a safe driver, but how about that person beeping at me at the round-about, beeping at me to hurry up and go, when I would be stupid to risk not only my own life but my daughter's and my baby. *urgh*

I make sure when I drive around here I am fully aware of what I am doing. I'm making every second count.

Thanks for the post.

Blossom said...

oh hon,
gentle hugs all round.

there is NO reason for drink driving........we don't drink at all anymore......


no words.more hugs

jeanie said...

Driving a car is like controlling a potential weapon. Drinking or speeding is like putting in a few bullets - sure, you may not have the trigger pulled, you may not get a loaded chamber - but the fact that it can cause such devastation SHOULD BE warning to all.

Anonymous said...

Al, wishing you all the best for the campaign and any future campaigns. I often read your M stories to the family, hoping your story 'egts in'. I hope you don't mind.

Mama Zen said...

I have no words. Just, thank you for sharing this.

Debby said...

I have to say, Al, the message is powerful, powerful stuff. I really do wish everyone would read this. I think it could make a difference.

M+B said...

Everytime I read this story, I just get so choked up. I've tried to comment a few times. What I really want to say is you are one awe inspiring woman, Alison. I cannot imagine a better person to work on this campaign xoxox