When the road rose up to meet me

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It was the greenest scene I’d ever seen. Bathed in the fragrance of freshly mown grass and honeysuckles, the narrow road curled itself tightly around hills as we whooshed by cows, cottages and cobblestone driveways. Chubby clouds couched themselves in the azure sky, gazing down at our little rental car as it struggled along, blasting Ed Sheeran’s “Castle on the Hill” at full volume. Our smiles beamed. It was the perfect day for a road trip through the Irish countryside.

After a rainy few weeks, the sun had come out for our arrival, ready to etch this memory in green and gold. It did feel strangely like home here, seeing the sweeping, empty fields dotted with trees. My friend sat in the driver’s seat beside me, her hair wild in the wind, as we harmonised with Eddy during the chorus.

“I’m on my way, driving at 90 down those country lanes . . .”

I really should have seen it coming.

Our senses were so tantalised by the countryside that my friend and I hadn’t noticed the car picking up speed. My eyes flashed across the dashboard—70 . . . 80 . . . 90 . . . wait, was that miles or kilometres? I began to get nervous. If a car approached us from the opposite direction, there would be no room for them to pass. Should I say something?

“No, just relax,” I thought, breathing out calmly. “Don’t ruin the mood now. Don’t be that annoying passenger-seat driver . . .”

The car inched closer and closer to the gutter on the passenger side and the long grass began ferociously flicking the car. Suddenly, a bright red Audi popped up over the little hill. I gripped the chair and winced. We swerved. I tried to yell, “Slow down, watch out!”, but my words were caught in my throat.

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