I’d come home from work, from a day when shit smelled better than the day I’d had. I hated life that day, from the car that sent an early morning wave-of-splash across my body as I waited for a cab, to my secretary’s constant whining about how unfair it was that she had to come in on a minor holiday.

Guess what, crap runs downhill and my boss made me come in too. To top it off, I left my phone sitting on the night stand, and I sat on an island. “Guess I’m right back to where I started.”

The day lay a wasteland of deceptive devices in rutty clients who couldn’t be bothered, and the more I pressed into the needs of a company that saw me as a payroll liability over a person with a family and home, the less I cared. When I left work, I discovered our city went on a taxi strike. “fucking really?”

I hopped on a bus, and not used to public transportation, I didn’t head to the subway, and didn’t realize it until I looked up from my self-absorbed thoughts of misery. Somewhere out into the edges of town, away from any subway station, I found myself stepping off and waiting an hour for the same bus, same bus driver, heading the other direction. “Couldn’t you have told me that you were the bus coming back this way?”

Guess not.

The sun dropped, and the last stragglers of clerks, busboys, and underpaid kids climbed aboard. I squeezed between a rotund theater ticket-taker and a gum chomping dishwasher.

“Here, you can have this.” I stood for a young pregnant cleaning lady.
She held her belly and nodded. “Gracias.”
“No problem.”

I held onto the strap and we lurched forward, on into the night. “Can you let me know when we get to Central?”

The bus driver held up four fingers.

One stop, two stops, a fight between two riders gathered the bus driver’s attention. “You two don’t stop that and we will pull over and wait.”

God damn no. I just wanted to go home. I checked my watch, dinner long since passed, Kelly must have given up and assumed I’d pulled an all nighter, or worse, decided to go out with the boys. True to his word, Mr. Bus Driver, much to the complaints of a packed house, pulled over and waited. The mob rules and we ran the two clods bickering off into the night chill.

Three stops and that leg of the trip neared over. Four stops and I filtered out with everyone else. We lurched onward to the caverns of the subway. Another wait. My watch lumbered forward, working on my behalf in seconds that seemed like hours.

Get me home.

The gentle push of wind turned stronger as the squeal of iron and the glow of tunnel light brought my next leg. Everyone poured into the train like sardines. Doors closed, a voice calling out North shore.

Going home.

Uneventful, other than the thirty minutes. I was happy to see my familiar, my neck of the woods. Only, some asshole decided to shatter my car’s window.

What the fuck good is security?

I made my way to the parking lot attendant and filled out a report–nothing taken, nothing to take, but another hour gone.

I wondered if Kelly had gone to bed?

My drive home added a brisk chill–heat cranked, a mix of cool night and processed heat co-mingling in my face. Garage up, car in, garage down. I gave myself a minute to compose, forehead against the wheel.

“Well, might as well find out how much I disappointed my wife.”
I slinked into the house, laid my briefcase on the counter, and walked about the place. When I entered the dining room, food ready, there she was, a smile glowing from her face. Her pale skin, brilliant red hair, not an hour out of time. My red, the most incredible woman I’d ever seen.

“I’ve been waiting, how was your day.”

I looked at my watch—nine forty five. I looked at the clock behind her—five on the dot. I pointed to the timepiece.

She stood and stepped into my arms. “Isn’t time just a concept?” She hugged me. “Bad day?”

“The worst.”

She kissed me. “Not anymore.”

I swam in her green eyes, the love of my life. “No, not anymore.”