The Longest Goodbye

‘Bye!’

I waved out of the window of my van as it trundled slowly out of the driveway. A grin split my face as I blew kisses at my family, lined up on the lawn to watch me go. I gave the horn its obligatory tap as I took off down the street, and that was that.

My phone buzzed in my pocket, and I swore quietly as I reached for it. Luckily the road was empty, and I only swerved a little bit into the wrong lane.

‘Dad?’ I answered. ‘Is something wrong?’

‘Oh no,’ he chuckled, ‘nothing’s wrong at all.’

‘Right,’ I frowned. ‘Why the call then? It’s only been…’ – I glanced at my clock – ‘three minutes since I said goodbye.’

‘I just forgot to tell you something!’

I waited for a few seconds for him to follow that thought up.

‘Dad?’

‘Oh yes, just trying to remember is all.’

         I put my microphone on mute so I could audibly groan.

         ‘Oh that’s what it was!’ he finally said. ‘I wanted to recommend that you see a mechanic near Bentleigh before you pass through.’

         ‘Why? Did something seem off with my car?’

         ‘Not really, no.’

         ‘So… why?’

         ‘I just wanted to let you know that was what I was thinking.’

         I groaned again, louder this time.

         ‘Sorry sweetie, what was that? I couldn’t quite make it out.’

         Forgot to mute, I chastised myself.

         ‘Sorry dad, but I don’t actually have hands-free in this car, so I’m gonna have to–’

         ‘Oh don’t you? Maybe it’d be best if you swung past an auto electrical mechanic in the Bentleigh area too, see if they can–’

         ‘Okay, bye dad, thanks for calling,’ I hurried a goodbye down the phone, certain I was about to be pulled over by a cop with a quota.

         ‘Okay then, you drive safe sweetie. Remember, you need to take the first left at the roundabout if you want to make it—’

         I hung up.

         ‘Ridiculous,’ I muttered to myself, at the precise moment my engine cut out.