Do you have a 16 year old daughter?

Sarah, a photo taken just an hour or two before the accident

Dear Cath

When the doorbell rang at 5.40pm on the 24th November, my first emotion was irritation, either Sarah who’d forgotten her keys or her boyfriend was wondering where she was. We’d had this argument so many times and it seemed she never learned and you know how it annoys me.

Before I could walk down the thirteen steps to the ground floor, the door bell had rung twice more and someone had knocked twice. Hard raps that made the door shudder in the frame. The shadowy figure through the glass looked agitated and jumpy and a flicker of alarm crossed my mind.

As I opened the door his first words were, ‘Do you have a sixteen year old daughter?’

You just know don’t you, Cath, that when someone says something like that, that it’s going to be life changing. ‘Yes,’ I said.

‘She’s been hit by a bus. My car’s here. Get in.’ He pointed at the car that blocked the street, door still wide open.

I screamed for Joe but as usual he ignored it, thinking I was screaming at Sarah so I had to race up the stairs, screaming for him as I tried to put on the first pair of shoes I’d grabbed, a choice that would come to haunt me.

The taxi driver drove us on the wrong side of the street down to the scene of the accident. At the time, that vague objective part of you wonders if this isn’t a little dangerous then you see the flashing blue lights and realise that the streets are completely blocked. It’s strange how you can be feeling/thinking so many things on so many levels and all so vividly.

Apparently the human brain takes in 11 million bits of information every second but is only aware of 40. I felt like I was aware of all 11 million.

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