Faceless Toll

The road toll was a number, something read aloud on the news every day, but so distantly removed from my life that it didn’t penetrate my conscious brain.

Until last week –

When a friend became the twentieth motorcyclist to die on Australian roads since the start of the year. That’s 10 weeks – two riders per week, killed on our roads.

First comes the shock, because there is no warning, no clue or time to prepare. Just the news, someone is dead.

Then follows the questions. The disbelief. How is it possible? Why did this happen? What reason could there be?

Then finally the grief, not just because he was only 36 years old; his daughter deprived a lifetime of memories, her father’s protection and his arm to escort her down the aisle.

Not just because his sister, my oldest friend, has lost her brother, and his mother, also a friend, has to bury her son; but because it is so needless.

Then today, when a moron running a red light narrowly misses slamming headlong into the car carrying my husband and children, my heart doesn’t just skip. It stops.

No longer background noise, the road toll wears a face, has a name and lived a life.

Now I have heard, I will never unhear. Now I have seen, I will never unsee.

May your star shine bright and your night be a peaceful slumber, Stu.

Blonde on!