Home > prose and poetry > never again am i going to be late.

never again am i going to be late.

Cribbed the title from a song by The Streets (“It’s Too Late”), since, I dunno, it kinda fit. That, and the general theme/storyline is more than a bit similar. I only noticed it after I was halfway through, though. God’s truth! Haha.

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I looked at my watch. It was already a quarter past ten, and I was late. “As usual,” she’d say. I couldn’t deny it: I had made a bad habit of being late. But it was never on purpose. Things always popped up, shit always happened. My cat would decide to shit in the middle of the living room, the water tank would suddenly decide to overflow, or the old lady next door would suddenly need a ride to the clinic because her “knees hurt,” shit like that.

And sometimes I just forgot. That happened too. More often than I would like to admit.

If our relationship was a baseball game I’d have been out ten times over, but she exhibited that loving patience most people reserve for their elders and annoying nephews and nieces. I knew that she’d eventually lose patience with me, though, and that it was a matter of “when” rather than “if,” but I tried to put it at the back of my mind as I hurried on towards the LRT station.

It was a Sunday, and people were out in droves. The station was as busy as ever, swirling masses of people headed in every possible direction, talking, smiling, laughing. My cellphone buzzed in my pocket.

“Where are you?”

“On my way, honey.”

“I can’t wait for you all day, you know.”

“I know. That’s why I’m on my way. I’ll see you in a bit.”

“Hmph . . . alright.”

And she hung up. The tone of her voice sounded almost . . . ominous, as if foreshadowing the occurrence of something significant. But I didn’t want to worry about that. At least, not right then. The clock was ticking.

It was already a quarter to eleven, and I wasn’t even on the train yet. Not good. Not good at all.

Fortunately I had the exact change to buy a ticket from the ticket-vending machines, which saved me the hassle of having to line up to buy a ticket. Which was just as well, since the train arrived just as I stepped onto the platform. Mouthing a silent “thank you” to God or whoever is up there, I boarded and sat down in an empty seat, next to an old man.

I breathed a semi-sigh of relief as the doors closed and the train started moving. It wasn’t a long train ride, but it certainly felt long. And throughout it I couldn’t shake the feeling I had that something wasn’t exactly right . . . that something bad was about to happen. I tried my best to calm myself down as the train pulled into my destination.

I was the only one that got off there. It was never a busy station, even on public holidays. We liked to meet there for that exact reason. It was our routine.

She’d always wait in the same spot just in front of the stairs, have that same expression on her face that lit up my world everytime I saw it. And I was expecting to see the same thing again that day.

But she wasn’t there.

All I saw was a piece of paper weighed down with a rock at the exact spot where she’d usually be standing. Written on it, in her delicate, fragile hand, was one single word.

“Sorry.”

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