“I don’t see your mother behind us anymore.”
I craned my neck around trying to see behind me, waiting for my mom’s car to appear from around a curve on the winding road through the hills between Puglia and Campania, but she didn’t show.
I pulled out my phone and saw I had missed a call from Nicole. I called her back.
“We were in an accident,” she said, sounding like she was trying not to cry. “The airbags went off.”
After making sure no one was hurt, they were off the road (“A nice man stopped to help us and is flagging cars to make sure they see us’), and the police had been called, David and I drove 15 more minutes to Grottamiranda, the next possible exit, turned around (“Of course we’re going back for them, why would I mind?” he said), and drove another 20 minutes to the Vallesacarda exit to retrieve my family. Then followed the towtruck BACK to Grottamiranda and another turnaround BACK to Vallesacarda where his shop was. (Yes, that was the only way to do it.) Three hours later, including one hour trying to lure a crying kitten out of our engine (blessings on the mechanic who lifted the car to blow air into the engine and search with a flashlight to be sure it was really gone), and we were back on our way.
“I guess it was a good thing we had a too-big car after all,” David said as he glanced in the rearview mirror. Five adults, six large suitcases (theirs), three backpacks (my one and David’s two), my duffel bag (under my feet), along with assorted purses and souvenirs were crammed into our Fiat Tipo for the next two-plus rainy hours until we dropped our added cargo off in Pompeii.