The bus stop was almost as empty as her school bag, which had merely a few pens and the notebook for the final exam’s course content. She’d done bad on the previous ones but she knew this one she could pass. The unfamiliar confidence in that knowledge made her uncomfortable. Anxiety about having any confidence gnawed at her.
None of that would matter if she didn’t make it in time though. The bus must’ve been too early, passing by right before she arrived, sweating and breathing heavy from the short bike ride. Classic. The one occasion when it was early is the one when she wasn’t. It was a disaster, plain and simple.
Sighing, on the verge of tears, she pulled out her mobile phone, grateful for the luxury to be able to call and text wherever she was. If only it could show her the position and timelines of buses and trains. Perhaps someday.
‘Hello,’ an old voice sounded on the other side.
‘Grandpa, I’m so glad you picked up.’ Her voice shaking from the stress and emotions, she quickly explained to him what had happened. She needed a ride to the train station. He agreed immediately.
Her anxiety lessened at knowing he’d be picking her up soon, but only slightly. Frustration at his slowness had begun building when she finally saw the grey car appear. She might still be able to make it in time. All kinds of doom scenarios popped up in her head, the string of consequences to missing her train. The only exam she could pass, failed due to tardiness. Her last chance to not be a complete stupid loser.
‘Why aren’t we going faster?’ She asked her grandpa with a tremble in her voice, annoyed at his careful driving style.
‘I can’t go faster, the speed limit…’ There was a measure of panic and frustration in his voice. Her panic must be jumping on to him.
She blinked several times in quick succession. She hadn’t thought of that memory in years. Walking past that exact bus stop must have triggered it. Other memories of grandpa helping her in different situations flooded her, his never ending patience and tremendous love saturating her whole body.
Dampening that, was the lack of appreciation she’d shown. The guilt she’d felt whenever she’d watched him struggle to solve things that went wrong, now resonated in her ten times as strong. The realisation that she’d never expressed her appreciation and love for him. It all fell down on her, heavy.
The tightness in her chest let her feel how much she missed him. Her face contorted and a sob tore itself free from the depths of her lungs. Tears flowed down her cheeks at the unexpected pain of loss and guilt. Oh, that terrible, deep guilt of not visiting enough after he stopped remembering who she was. Too late. He’s been gone for years. She was not in time to act on her repentance. She could only stand there and be lost in times past.