ME: Hey bro, how are you, what’s happening?
MY BROTHER DAVE (panting): Have you spoken to Dad yet? Mum went to move the car and we can’t find her.
ME: What?
DAVE: There’s been a massive flash flood in Toowoomba, my phone is about to cut out, it’s a bit waterlogged. I was wading through the floodwater. Mum went to move the car and we haven’t seen her since.
ME: What? Where?
DAVE: It missed my cafe by 30 centimetres, but it ploughed through their shop. Dad is on the roof. Mum went to move the car and we can’t find her.
ME: I’m reading the news online now. It says two women are missing in Toowoomba.
DAVE: I’ll call you back.
ME: No, wait! What!? Toowoomba is on a mountain, how does it flood in Toowoomba?
DAVE: It just did. The whole place is a disaster zone. Have a look on the web.
ME: Are you OK?
DAVE: Yeah (panting). I just waded across the creek.
ME: I’m sure she’ll be fine. And they’ll have insurance.
DAVE: I’ll call you back.

I called Dad. Mum was indeed missing. It wasn’t easy to believe. Toowoomba is on a mountain. Flash floods happen in canyons to people in helmets. Not to my parents at work. He sounded worried. Imagine how a man standing on a roof looking for his wife in a river that used to be a street would sound. It was just like that.

The flood waters had started rising quickly. Mum had gone out the back of the shop to their little car parking area to move one of the cars to higher ground. The water was already up to the doors by the time she drove off. In the minutes since she’d been gone, the Toowoomba CBD had gone under. You might have seen the footage. Cars were being swept along like whitewater rafts made by grade seven woodworking students. They were taking out trees with the same ease as they were taking out wheelie bins. It was hectic.