I sat in the car waiting. Every so often I would hear the sound of a distant vehicle approaching and then soon see its headlights come flashing past me. Before long it would be gone into the distance. Still I waited it was too soon to try.
‘Not yet, not now,’ I whispered quietly beneath my breath.
The desert was as silent as a graveyard. Nothing could be seen or heard for miles. I had crossed the border an hour earlier and still had another three to go before hopefully I would be home safe and sound. Before then I would have to face the test of time. I would have to learn what life had in store for me.
Perhaps it was my fault that it had turned out this way. My enthusiasm may have gotten the better of me. I had driven like a lunatic, breaking speed limits that did not exist. This was not the kind of trip one did alone but I had done it. I had driven into the sandstorm losing sight of any of the cars in front of me and cruised safely to the border after four hours. After wrestling with border control I was in Bahrain and walking through the mall searching for the movie theater. I emerged two hours later to see that darkness had descended in this part of the world and I began planning my long trip back home. Riyadh had no form of escape in terms of cinema so the best one could do was cross the Saudi border into neighboring countries to catch up with life.
I got into the car and before long I was again across the causeway and heading into the darkness of the desert. After driving for an hour I was just beginning to think I would make it into Riyadh in good time when I heard the engine cough, stutter and then die completely. Soon I was pulling over into the sands knowing that my fate had been written.
I sat in the darkness waiting quietly. What were my options? There was no form of road assistance in these parts, no high way phones for emergency services and the nearest help was at least three hours away and that would be calling my friends with the hope that they were in. What were my options? I could stop one of the cars because at the speeds at which they were going past me, there was no doubt in my mind that I’d be picking up pieces of my self in the desert before I was able to ask for help. I was getting pretty thin on options. One thing was for certain I had to stay in the car as walking would certainly be the end of my life in the heat.
As I sat in the car, I told myself to wait and allow for time. All the gages had indicated that all was okay and so it was hard to tell why the car had broken down. I tried to visualize them again through my mind as I had done just before the engine had cutoff, oil normal, petrol tank full, engine cool, yet no life in it? I had been driving the rental for over two weeks without any problems yet it had chosen this place of all places to break down on me. I told myself I had to be patient. It may be dead at the moment but who could tell what would happen later. I would give it half an hour and then try again. ‘It was bound to work, it had to, Father you cannot abandon me like this,’ were the quiet words from my lips.
Half an hour later, I closed my eyes and prayed. Then my hand went again to the key in the ignition and I held my breath. Soon I heard the engine roar to life and I smiled in the darkness. I slowly pulled out of the sand unto the road and began cruising at a slow speed. I knew there was fuel in the car and now I just hoped it would stay alive long enough to get me home. Before long I had picked up the pace and then I realized I was passing slower cars and making good time. I entered Riyadh four hours later feeling like a man who had conquered the world. I was sure that the engine had been dead for no apparent reason and with no help forth coming for miles I knew my fate was sown with whatever faith I could muster. As I walked into my apartment and poured myself a glass of water I knew if given the chance I would change nothing of what had taken place. Perhaps the event had been a challenge and there was more than a credible reason for the car breaking down as it did. However to me what mattered more than anything was how my faith had pulled me through despite the odds.