I know we’ve all been there. But, man… when everything in life seems to all be going wrong at once, it’s so frustrating. But, what you gonna do? Today was supposed to be the first day of the rest of my life…
As I laid there in bed my eyes began to squint. The sun seemed exceptionally bright this morning. Maybe it was a good sign, no, a good omen. Wait a minute. The thought crossed my mind. Why hasn’t my phone alarm gone off? I reach out to grab my cell phone off my night stand using only my sense of touch, in case the sun just happened to be eager to start the day and I really had more time to sleep. Only after the phone was in my hand did I peek an eye open to check the time. The meeting at my job regarding my promotion started 30 mins ago.
For a sec I thought, why wasn’t I one of those people who didn’t need an alarm the morning of something this important. I was so upset that I forgot that I had laid out clothes to wear the night before and just put on the same clothes I wore the day before. Thank God I did because my key card was in my suit pocket. I grab my keys and bag and rush out my apartment.
I locked my front door and simultaneously pushed the button on my keys to remote start my car’s engine. I then jogged down my front steps and run to my car, almost colliding with a cyclist who was out for his morning ride. Which made me think, “Jeez, I wish it was MY day off and not the day I blow a promotion!” I yelled “sorry!” But he didn’t respond. It was almost as if he was clocking his time and had an uncanny focus.
I’m finally on the road. The traffic isn’t too bad, maybe I can make it before my boss leaves and explain myself. There are only seven traffic lights separating my job building from my apartment. But on this day it seemed like a hundred. I arrive at a red light and anxiety begins. I start drumming my fingers on my steering wheel while staring at the perpendicular traffic light to assemble some kind of head start. I accelerate as soon as I see green.
My anxiety starts to dissipate when I realize that I hit the “sweet spot” you know, when the lights stay green one after the other. As I cruise toward the second to last light, it turns yellow. Against my better judgement I sped up. The light turned red and I wasn’t slowing down. I then slammed on brakes and came to a stop. I looked around to see if anyone witnessed the dumbest decision I’ve made since gambling my entire paycheck on a ball game. Oddly, no one was there to see it. Then I saw it. The cyclist from before. I didn’t notice that she was a woman, an absolutely gorgeous woman. I didn’t notice that I was staring until she smiled at me and the embarrassment flooded inside me. Unfortunately I also didn’t realize that I didn’t look where I was when I stopped. Without warning, all sound went away. All feeling subsided. Everything went black.
Slowly everything returned. In what felt like a few minutes. A “beep” began to play. It was steady and rhythmic and familiar. I opened my eyes and found myself in a hospital bed. There was a letter addressed to me by my bed pan. It was from my boss. “Hey don’t worry about the job, it’s yours as long as you wake up. I know you will, I’ll see you soon.” That’s when it hit me. MY INTERVIEW! What happened?
I remembered racing to the office, and then everything went black. As I laid there trying to piece the last 24 hours together, I noticed something from the corner of my eye. A nurse was fixing my IV with something. I tried to speak so she knew I was awake but she ignored me and continued working. Surely when she finished she would answer me. I waited, then the room started becoming hazy.
What did she shoot me with? I didn’t think it would work that fast. I used every bit of strength I had to stay awake, but it didn’t work. As my eyes began to shut themselves, I saw the nurse walk to the door. She didn’t look back. I started to become annoyed, But losing consciousness made it hard to stay that way.
A roaring sound startled me awake. At first I couldn’t figure out what it was. I got off my bed and walked toward my living room window. As I peeked through the blind I realized that I’ve never looked out my window since I moved in four months ago. At first glance, the tree line made it hard to see it. I squinted to try and see beyond it.
The sound was coming from a train speeding by. Why haven’t I heard it before? Have I really been that clueless? Wait a minute. How did I get to my apartment? I began inspecting my pockets for something helpful. My pockets were empty. My wallet must be at the hospital still. I instantly remembered the hospital, but for the life of me couldn’t remember why I was there in the first place.
Then it dawned on me that I didn’t know where the hospital was in town. Man I got to get out more… I went to my office and searched for it on the internet. While I was searching, I heard a familiar sound. My phone’s alarm was going off. I walked over and silenced it. Then I saw the note my boss left for me along with a second one.
It said, “Take all the time you need, work will always be here.” It was dated May 4th. I then looked at my phone and saw that it was June 10th. I dropped my phone and fainted into my chair. I was confused, worried, speechless, but most of all frustrated. I took a deep breath and decided to take it one step at a time.
I dialed the office. It was busy. So I thought I’d just get a shower and head down there. The hot water helped, I felt optimistic. However, that was short-lived. I couldn’t find my keys. I was determined to stay calm, so I took my spare house key from under a flower-pot outside my door. When I got outside, for a second, a new panic hit me. My car wasn’t there. Why was my memory so messed up? It all pieced together when I saw her from the corner of my eye.
The beautiful cyclist that I nearly killed rushing out of my apartment. She was also the last thing I saw before my life seemed to cut to black. She had to know something. As she passed by the front of my building I yelled at her to stop. I guess I abandoned all politeness and replaced it with hope. Either way she seemed unaffected and continued riding by. I started calling at her again, determined to get answers.
I didn’t realize she was quickening her pace until I found myself jogging to keep up. I begged her to stop and told her I needed her help but she kept going. This had the inverse effect because instead of slowing down she peddled faster, and I had to run to keep up. Not long after, I felt the ground rumble under my feet, followed by the sound that shocked me out of bed that morning.
When my eyes caught the jet black engine roaring closer, I realized she was riding right into the path of the tracks. Why wasn’t she stopping? HEY LOOK OUT! I yelled.
The train zoomed by without blowing its horn like they usually do when approaching a town. The cyclist didn’t slow down at all when the train crossed her. Instead she rode right into the tree line, which blocked my view once again.
The train had completely passed by the time I got to the woodline. Maybe she was an adrenaline junkie, part of me thought. My other half was expecting the worst. I walked until I came to the clearing, but there were no tracks, no railroad crossing stop, but most surprisingly, no cyclist.
Beyond the clearing, the tree line was far too thick for her to traverse, so I knew that was out of the question. My head was like a surveillance camera, swiveling trying to find any trace of her. Shortly afterward, the sun started taking pictures. A ray of light beamed against the base of a huge oak tree a few feet away from where I was standing. That’s when I saw it. Her bicycle was propped against the tree.
It was covered in vines and underbrush. How could this be? I was more confused than ever now. I was standing there with my fingers through my hair, puffing, I walked to the bike. Little did I know that all would be revealed when I got to it.
I didn’t see it at first, but when I tried to release it from its earthly prison, a note that was taped to the handle bar fell to the ground. I picked it up. The paper was folded in half like a class room note you pass around behind your teacher’s back. My name was written on the outside.
How did she know my name? I unfolded the paper and read it. I lost all feeling in my legs, resulting me to collapse to the ground. Six words, that’s all it took to cripple me off my feet, and render me in the Fetal position. “Don’t worry, Purgatory is not too bad…”