The Wait – A Short Story

I look at my watch. Seven minutes. Estimated time of arrival, seven minutes. I shuffle my feet back and forth. This is the bit I hate, whenever I have to do this. The waiting for things…outside of my control. Normally I’d be happy to take control of the situation, to ensure I was in the right place at the right time, but not this time. God, why not this time? Perhaps it’s the rain. The rain always sours my mood.

Doubts creep into my head. Will I do it? My confidence is draining away with each passing second. I begin to curse at the reason I’m here, but it’s my fault really. I should have prepared better, been here ready to go earlier than I was. Even a few minutes more might have made a big difference to whether I succeeded.

Six minutes. Things are getting tight now. A woman jogs by, her head looking down at the ground as she passes. Attractive. I may have seen her previously when I’ve been here before, but I don’t recognise her. I don’t know if she recognises me. It’s of little consequence, either way. Nothing will come of it.

A man walks past. He looks at me, a smirk on his face. I know what he’s thinking. That smartarse knows why I’m there. It’s obvious really. He continues to walk. Probably a good idea. I should have done the same, back when I had the choice.

Five minutes. Concern is growing now. I don’t think things are going to plan. I wonder about what will happen if I fail. The difference between things going according to schedule, and things going tits up. The things that could happen in between. Unknown things. That’s even worse than waiting. Things outside of the routine that you don’t expect. They could go well, of course, but optimism was never a strong part of my character. Better to be pessimistic and be pleasantly surprised, than optimistic and let down.

Up ahead, a man begins to run towards me. A smile of satisfaction creeps upon my face. Though I haven’t seen it myself yet, his reaction is enough to tell me things might be going according to plan after all.

The man’s face, now more detailed as he races nearer, has a look of determination on it, desperate to reach me before it’s too late. I settle back, knowing that however events unfold from here, at least I know I’m in the right place.

He arrives, out of breath, a look of relief on his face. He looks at me and I at him. “After you,” I say, above the hiss. After all, things won’t proceed from here regardless of who goes first. I won’t save any time. Four minutes. Plenty of time.

Plenty of time for this bus to get to the train station and after all, I’m not really in that much of a rush to get to work, am I?

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