R’s face was glowing in the evening sun. He was looking more handsome than ever. Fine grey hair adorned his head like silver thread adding more charm to his subtle looks. His eyes were tired due to lack of sleep from the previous night and his mouth was stiff. He narrowed his eyes whenever he struggled to penetrate his vision through the dust clouds which were denying our smooth transit across the abandoned landfill.
I turned back to see what everyone was up to. Dad was still staring out of the window with a subtle smile on his face even when his heart was pounding. I could fathom the pressure that was building up within him and how hard he was trying to keep his cool. Mom had started to doze off as always, but this was a crucial time for us and I wondered how one could even bat an eyelid in such a strenuous circumstance. V was sleeping peacefully in her arms, his head tucked in her elbow. K was apprehensively staring out of the window, fidgeting with a spinner, his little shiny eyes watching out for zombies. S was deeply immersed in some navigation activity or was relentlessly searching for some fuel stations in the area. His fingers moved haphazardly as he worked on the apps on his phone.
Everyone looked calm and composed. I could feel the big lump in my throat slowly meting away and I felt a lot lighter. I turned back to face the road and voila! There was the asphalt pavement ahead of us. Which means we were back on track again!
I looked at R and he was beaming. After being in this turmoil, it felt great to see everyone smiling. Mom and V were still sleeping. S resumed his activity as the network got active again. Even my phone woke up from sleep and started spitting out directions.
The steep windy roads gave in as R cut through them at 80km/hr. We were bolting at twice the allowable speed limit. It was dark and both sides of the road were densely filled with humongous trees. They hesitated to pass even a slight ray of sunshine through them leaving us in pitch darkness. Roads got narrower and with just the little reflectors stuck on the pavement guiding us through the dark, we finally made it to the Bogong Village in Bright!
The red fuel indicator kept blinking as R pulled over the car to the parking bay after dropping me at the reception. The resort keys had been deposited in the letter box as we were terribly late. I quickly picked them up and trotted towards my family. R turned off the engine and jumped out of the car. I stood tall and proud , my face smug, as R & S approached me. They both gave me a warm hug which was just enough to wash off all the pain I had endured all day.
Finally, after all the hurdles, Bright got Real and all the more Beautiful!!
As the saying goes.. ” Every cloud has a silver lining “