Finally, after the incredible luck of eight consecutive green lights, the bus slowed, easing to a stop before the intersection. Sighing a little, mentally reminding herself to celebrate the green lights instead of complaining about this one little speed bump, she gazed out the window. Glancing past the rows of neat houses lined up by the side of the road, her gaze settled onto the tan Corolla slowing to a stop beside the bus. She smiles, recognizing the grandmother laughing, presumably, with her grandson as he chauffeurs her to her destinations. She noted the wild gestures the old woman was throwing around, the rapidly moving lips, and gently laughed.
Oh yes, that grandmother was happy, alright.
In the midst of her giggle, he turns, mid-conversation, and flicks a glance out his window. And saw her.
He sees her.
Inexplicably, she freezes, blinking owlishly down at him until, finally, he grins ever so slowly and nods a greeting. She liked that smile, she thought even as she sheepishly smiled back in return. And yet, the thought had barely crossed her mind before the roaring hum of the bus engine brings her thoughts back to the present. She jerked forward, caught sight of the green light, before sneaking a glance back down at the man and his grandmother. Secretly, mentally, she laughed again when she saw that the grandmother was prodding impatiently for her grandson to go.
“It’s green now!” She imagined she’d be saying.
Obedient to her prodding, he turns onto the left. The bus continues forward along its path. Slowly, the tan Corolla disappeared completely from view. It was only a moment’s worth of an encounter. Chances are, she’d never see that young man with his elderly grandmother ever again. It had only been a moment, and a moment lost. And yet—
What if this was a small glimpse at her soulmate? Her partner? Her significant other? What if this had been a gift, from Fate?
Be patient, the Universe seemed to say. It’s not yet time. But, your time will come. Let what will, be.
It was, just barely, Saturday morning—6:37AM, to be exact. She sat on the toilet seat, her head hanging forward,scarcely held up by arms that shook heavier than leaves on wind. The world spun, round and around and around, and she knew that if she tried to stand, she’d fall. So, her wits still barely with her, she stayed seated atop that toilet, miserably swearing to never again touch alcohol for as long as she lived—a pointless oath, really, and one she’d break in a week or two.
She felt decimated. Completely and utterly decimated. She didn’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that she felt somewhat like how she’d imagine the grime at the bottom of a truck’s wheels would feel—perpetually squashed until beyond all recognition. Inside, nausea swam, threatening to spill over despite all of her efforts to keep it down. She swallowed, again and again, despairing over this losing battle. Oh she’d drank too much, alright, and quite,quite miserable.
Alive. She also felt alive.
And she also felt loved, and protected, and so, so blessed.
She had friends, who had stayed out until four in the morning, drinking with her just because she needed it. Friends that had taken her all the way home—despite the fact that she practically lived in the boondocks—because, for the first time in ages, she was drunk out of her mind. She had family that had called, again and again and again, throughout the night because they’d worried about her safety. Family that had, despite being thoroughly irritated at her, tolerated her obnoxiously loud singing when she’d finally tottered through those doors at the break of dawn.
She had gone out, had fun, met new people, drank because she wanted to, and lived.
And, she knew, she could do it all again.
Everything is different now, yes. She can no longer go back, either. She’d been telling herself, nonstop, that everything will be okay. It’ll all work out. It’s okay. Let things fall as it may.
She wasn’t sure if she’d ever really believed herself. Until today. As she sat atop a toilet, staring at her hungover face on a mirror at the crack of dawn. The irony of the situation did not escape her, as the first fits of laughter started bubbling through her lips. Quickly clamping her hands over her mouth—lest she woke her family up again—she nevertheless smiled.
Clasping her hands before her, lashes fluttered softly for a moment before her eyes quietly drew close.
Thank You. God, Buddha, Kami-sama, the Universe and the Cosmo. Whoever You are…Thank You.
Today, five years ago, they began.
He was quietly confident in her attraction to him. She, softly reassured of his interest in her. Both were not yet completely sure of the other, but both willing to give the other a chance. On that moment of chance, on a willingness to believe, their relationship started.
Today, five years later, they had stopped.
He, a busy entrepreneur, working to make his business grow. She, a corporate employee, with an eye on grad school and her mind already settling on her prize. Both, slowly but surely, clawing their way up in this world. Two lives, once so tightly intertwined, now with futures worlds apart.
And where would they be, in another five years?
She’s so exhausted.
More than anything else, she just wanted to curl up on her bed at home, dressed in her cotton pajamas, her hair tied up in a loose, messy bun and just…disappear from this world. She wanted to hurtle herself through the darkness, into the beautiful dreams that awaited her. Her covers would rest around her, nestling the warmth against her soft cheeks, as her lashes flutter hectically against her fictitious reality.
Oh how she wished she could be Alice in Wonderland. To traverse through dreams, the oddity, and the obscure. To fall so far into the rabbit hole that she’s not sure what is up and what is down, what is left and what is right. Perhaps, what is right and what is wrong?
But she’s not in a rabbit hole.
Taking a deep breath, she forced her eyes open. Her back ached a little from the awkward position she’d fallen asleep in at her desk. An oddly shaped red print marked her forehead. Blearily, she realized that if she didn’t get her act together everyone will realize that she’d just taken a nap at her desk. And then everyone’ll start asking questions.
The last thing she wanted at this moment were questions.
So it’s time to wake up.
But…when had she fallen asleep?