‘Quick! We’ve got to go. We need to beat peak hour traffic,’ my husband implored.
‘Ok, ok,’ I said. ‘Can I just quickly go to the loo?’
‘How badly do you need to go?’ he countered, ‘ We can just stop somewhere along the way if it’s not too urgent.’
I hesitated and evaluated the situation with a quick body scan. No clenching. No aching. No sense of impending doom.
I decided I might just be going for the sake of it, and looked up at him smiling.
‘Not too badly, let’s go.’
We left Melbourne and as he predicted, immediately hit grid lock. Punt Road at its finest.
‘Why did we decide to take this route again?’ I teased. ‘I told you Citylink would be quicker.’
He shot me an irritated look. Uh oh! I thought. Remember, how he always likes to be right? Just be quiet! ‘Never mind. I like going this way because it gets us further along the freeway in the end.’
I clamped my mouth shut and looked out the window. I did, actually, like travelling this way because you could look into the various shopfronts of Abbotsford and Collingwood – artisan delis, fromageries, antique stores, op shops, boutiques. The eclectic heart of the inner city suburbs. Sometimes I really missed Melbourne. But I NEVER missed the traffic.
My husband and I passed the time making small talk about the weekend just gone by. How good it was to see so and so. How awesome that café was. How expensive drinks were at that bar. Half an hour passed. Then forty-five minutes. Finally. We hit the Western Ring Road. Not long now until the freedom and flow of 110km/hr.
And that is when it started.
At first it was just a little twinge. A thought. A whisper. You need to go to the toilet.
I pushed the thought firmly out of my mind. No I don’t. Stop it!
We reached the Hume Highway and nudged the cruise control to 113km/hr (taking advantage of the 3km leeway allowed for speeding). As much as I love the city, I always breathe a sigh of relief as we reach the open countryside. Over the last 8 years, I have developed the heart of a country girl and crave a scenery of plentiful gum trees, rolling hills and paddocks scattered with grazing livestock.
My husband and I commenced our travel game of ‘Windmill/White horse’. (As an aside, ‘Windmill/White horse’ is a game, as simple as it sounds. You look out the window and if you see a windmill or white horse, you call it. One point scored for each).
I was up to my fourth windmill when the whisper became a furtive call. You need to go to the toilet.
I ignored the urge and continued with the game.
We approached our usual pitstop at Wallan. My husband shot me a look and asked, ‘Do we need to stop?’
It was not a real question at all. I could tell by his tone that stopping was not an option. He was in an I-just-want-to-get-home mood.
Ignoring the singing in my bladder, I said, ‘No, I’m fine.’
It was a decision I would immediately regret. We had not driven five minutes past the Wallan turn off when the singing suddenly became a yelling. The pressure began to increase. A fullness and heaviness I could no longer ignore.
I began to squirm in the passenger seat. Hoping a shift in position may shift the liquid that was swiftly accumulating and threatening to ruin our perfect run home.
Windmill / White horse. Windmill / White horse. Distract me PLEASE! I pleaded internally.
My husband, finally sensing my now, manic, participation in the game, enquired, ‘Are you ok?’
‘I need to go to the toilet, ‘ I replied.
Like a thing of dreams, once I had given it a voice, it intensified. My bladder was now screaming.
‘Can you make it to Avenel?’ he asked.
‘How far is that?’ I felt out of body as I asked the question. Trying to focus my thoughts here, there and anywhere other than in that car with a full bladder.
‘Hmmm. Maybe 10 minutes’, he answered.
10 minutes! 10 minutes. 10 minutes?
When he received no response, he looked over at me, quizzically. ‘Hun? 10 minutes ok?’
‘Mmmmm,’ I moaned, trying to focus on a point in the road, 500 metres ahead.
I closed my eyes. 10 minutes, 10 minutes, 10 minutes. That’s nothing! I can do 10 minutes with my eyes closed! HA!
I rocked gently back and forth and crossed my legs. Breathing in and out, in and out. You can do this. I thought.
I opened my eyes and saw the Avenel Roadhouse whizz past.
Frantic, panicked, I looked at my traitorous husband.
‘I thought we were stopping there!’ I hissed, with an almost animal quality.
Startled, my husband innocently replied, ‘Sorry – I thought you were sleeping.’
My eyes bugged and my breathing intensified. I gritted my teeth, as each word threatened to spill forth fluid, ‘I NEED TO GO TO THE TOILET.’
Now truly alarmed, my husband desperately scanned each passing road sign for advice of the next available rest stop.
As for me? I was now in pure survival mode. I was no longer aware of signs, scenery or situation other than, find me a toilet NOW. I was in a meditation of Breathe. Clench. Cross. Repeat. Mind over matter.
After what seemed a life time (but was only a mere 10 more minutes), my husband uttered those glorious words, ‘Mokoan rest stop is only 5 kms away’.
I thanked the Lord. I thanked Ganesh. I thanked the fairies. Whoever it was who was responsible for this divine act of mercy. I thanked them all.
My bladder was near bursting. Across my lower abdomen a screaming, burning pain. A water bomb at critical mass, with a pin prick threatening imminent explosion.
I audibly groaned with relief as I saw with my own eyes ‘Mokoan rest stop, 2km’
I had made it. Defied the odds and escaped a scarring embarrassment of epic proportions.
I started to laugh as we drew nearer to the next sign. But my laughter caught in my throat as I saw the glowing amber writing, flashing next to it.
‘Rest stop toilets closed. Take next exit 23 kms’.
By Sarah 2017©
Daily Post Daily Prompt, Word: mercy, passenger critical