It was a hot day on the vigil line at Midland. Then again, it is usually hot during the Lent vigil. This is Perth Western Australia after all, even if my Mum is right in her argument that it always rains on the Easter weekend.

I had arrived just before 7AM for my usual rostered slot. This was the ideal time for me because my shift was only two hours and then I could drive straight down Roe Highway to the University to start my work day as a Lecturer.

On this particular day I had first gone to St Brigid’s Church to pick up our gear. The signs, water bottle, little stools, kit bag and other paraphernalia were all stored at St Brigids which is only a quick ‘Our Father’ from the Marie Stopes abortion mill, assuming traffic was light.

There was nobody else with me at the time. I waited until exactly 7AM before setting up because we had to be careful to abide by the conditions of our permit.

So there I was standing on the street verge praying for the babies and their mothers and the workers. There are set prayers, lots of them, in a book we often used, but early in the morning I like to talk to the Lord more personally. I noticed there were lots of birds around, which was unusual, and I also noticed that the abortion mill carpark was filling fast. But most of the time I had my eyes closed. I almost hoped nobody else would arrive for a while because I was enjoying the prayer time by myself.

Almost without warning I was overcome with emotion. I simply couldn’t help myself. I began crying and blubbering like a child and I couldn’t stop. It went on and on for at least ten minutes before I got myself under control. This never happens to me, except sometimes after communion at the end of Mass, especially if the hymn is one of the more haunting and beautiful and if my wife is singing. The rest of the time I am poker-faced and stoic.

So I dried my eyes, prayed a little more and then other vigil attendees started to arrive, but I didn’t tell anyone what had happened. After all a man has to protect his reputation.

Driving to work at 9AM that day I was calm and grateful for my time on the vigil line. I reached the intersection at Kalamunda Road and stopped for a red light. The green arrow to turn right came on and, inexplicably, I drove forward through the intersection, immediately colliding with a car turning onto Kalamunda Road.

Nobody was hurt. My wife came and we took the other driver to a repair shop and my car was towed away too.

The following week when I was again on the vigil line on the same day I told everyone what had happened. They all looked knowing, almost as if they had expected my story. It turned out that every single one of them had had a car accident, either driving to or from the shift they shared with me outside the mill – the Marie Stopes Abortion Mill in Sayer Street Midland.