A Rushing and Waiting

She walked out the door and went to stand by the street. She knew it wasn’t time yet, but she couldn’t wait inside any longer. Perhaps if she waited outside it would make him come faster. It was irrational, she knew, but she wondered it just the same. After having waited for so long for this day to come, she would try anything, irrational or not, to make their meeting time arrive. She felt she could not wait one more second.

But she’d have to wait, because she had been outside for half an hour now, 15 minutes past their agreed-upon time, and he still had not come. Tired of standing and having worn out all her nervous energy by pacing back and forth, she plopped down on the curb. She looked at her feet and noticed the many cigarette butts scattered around her. She had gone through half a pack. “He better come soon,” she said aloud to no one, “and he better have cigarettes.”

She flicked one more butt onto the pavement and stuffed her hands into her jacket. The sun was starting to go down and the air was getting chilly.

Twenty minutes. Thirty. Forty-five.

She stood up and resumed pacing.

Fifty minutes.

She reached up to redo her ponytail, pulling her hair back tight until it hurt.

Maybe he won’t come.

“Shut up!” she said aloud to the thought that had crept into her mind. She started pacing faster and tightened the band around her hair.

He’s missed coming before, the thought resumed. Why should today be any different?

“It will be different,” she responded as she knelt to retrieve another cigarette from her bag on the ground, “because there are no more chances after today.”

No more chances after today, she repeated in her mind, standing again and taking a long drag.

If it had been up to her and her enabling ways, there probably would still be more chances after today. She had given him many, too many to be healthy for either of them, and she knew she was not strong enough to deny him one more.

But now it was not up to her. It had been taken out of her hands. Others had decided, and for all the love she had for him, she could do nothing to sway their legal decisions.Today was the last day. She knew it, and, more importantly, he knew it.

An hour.

She sat down again and dropped her head into her hands.

*********************************

On the other side of the city, he was racing through the streets, keeping a look out for cops and any short cuts he could think of.

It was not his fault he was late, not this time. Any other day he would have taken the blame, but today his conscience was clear, for fucking once. But a clear conscience did not make time stand still, and he could feel the seconds rush past him just like he rushed past cars and left them trailing behind on the highway.

I’m coming, he thought towards her. I know you’re waiting, and you’re scared, but I’m coming.

He was nearing the city now, and he started counting down the exits. He noticed the glowing reflection of the sun creeping lower and lower on the skyscrapers ahead. He sped up.

He finally came to his exit and slowed to take the curve. He glanced at the clock and immediately lurched forward in his seat.

Fifteen minutes. He had 15 minutes to enter the city, cross into downtown, wind his way around the stadium that interrupted what could have been a straight shot, and arrive at the street where she sat on their driveway, unable to do anything but wait and try to speed him on with her mind.

*********************************

She lifted her head from her hands and saw that the sun had completely gone down. She checked her watch. Five minutes left. She sighed deeply and felt her insides tremble. She reached up to wipe away a tear.

*********************************

Two more lights. “C’mon!” he yelled at the first one that turned red just as he arrived beneath it. He slammed his hand on the steering wheel. He looked down at the clock. Three minutes. He shook his head. There was no way around it. He crept the car forward, looked carefully both ways, and then sped through the light, arriving at the second one just as it turned yellow. One more block and a turn. One more minute. He narrowed his lips into a straight line and pressed down further on the gas.

*********************************

She stood up and covered her watch with her hand. She just couldn’t look. Perhaps if she didn’t, then the hands would stop ticking and all of time would stop. Please, she whispered as she closed her eyes. Please, please.

She heard screeching tires and opened her eyes just in time to see headlights turn the corner and come her way. She let out a deep breath she hadn’t realized she had been holding and then hopped the few steps from the sidewalk to the street.

The car came to a jolting stop in front of her, and before she knew it, she was in his arms. She smiled widely and felt a new tear on her cheek.

 

(Partly inspired by “Convenient Parking,” by Modest Mouse)

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9 thoughts on “A Rushing and Waiting

  1. You had me on the edge of my wheelchair, figuring he was just like any other uncaring male! (Am happily married to a man, so not a male hater) If a man had treated me that way, would have given up on him long ago. In these times, it is easy to place a call saying you are on your way!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think the mark of good writing (like yours) is the ability to stop time to describe the situation. We know time is going on, but in isolating the crucial moments of the story with such detail you really came up with something special. I know I keep saying this but I love your use of language, I love how your stories interact with your well chosen songs, and I love the stories themselves. I am in awe of what you do.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, man. I’m so honored to hear that. And I really do appreciate the encouragement, especially when sometimes it’s just so hard to get there, to that final piece I’m happy with (like with this one. I can’t tell you how many hours it took for me to finally arrive at just the beginning idea for this story).

        Now, if I can only learn to hit “reply” instead of creating a separate thread. Haha.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Hahahaha I have that same problem too. And I am so very happy to hand out the encouragement and please don’t ever think it is just about being nice. I am probably repeating myself here with your blogs but of course I love the musical connection to your pieces. You may struggle to get these out as you say, and that is a pain most of us bloggers probably know. But what you get out is special. It is your unique voice and vision and it is great to have it in my world.

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Liza these just keep getting better and better. I LOVED the pairing with this song in particular together with the split action of the story. Every nuance from the tossing of a cigarette to the muttered curse of being stuck in traffic. It felt so real. You continuously write these stories that are so engaging and they just keep getting better. Well done my friend

    Liked by 1 person

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