The tiny thin drops of rain fall softly on my black umbrella. As I walk to hail a cab, I hear the sound of the raindrops. They have a rhythmic beat. Tin… tinin… tin tin… And somehow, the beat has given me a little room to forget about a heated fight I had with my husband this morning.
Hailng a cab in the metro has become a daily gruelling challenge for me. I hate it that I get to struggle against a very pregnant woman or an elderly caned man. But then I just open the cab’s door and help them get in instead. And again, I would hate myself for doing as another hour of waiting happens next.
Finally I see an empty cab and it stops right int front of me. The driver greets me in English with a thick Arabian accent. During the ride, I opt to drown myself in the thought of a recent argument I have had with someone I hold so dearly. I cannot even remember what started the fight, but I know it was a big one. He slammed the door, leaving me behind without saying any word. That is the only vivid picture I have now. Oh, have I eaten breakfast at all? Lunch at work? It seems everything else that happened the rest of the day is an oblivion.
The whole day, I was in tears with my phone held tightly, in case it would ring and hear that familiar voice again. Inside the cab, my tears just uncontrollably rolled down my face. I feel the driver looking at me through the mirror from time to time. I sob looking at my phone in the hope that a text message could heal the pain before I sink into pitying myself.
So preoccupied thinking about the argument that I have not noticed that the driver has taken some unfamiliar detours. The rains have stopped and now, I realize we are nowhere near my turf. The driver suddenly turns to me and pulls out a small pocket knife. He wants me to leave my phone, all my cash, and any other valuables I have.
No, surprisingly I am not rattled. In fact, my body is in a trance-like numbness. I am still feeling lost and dejected from this morning’s drama. I don’t really care much for what might happen next.
I have a pair of scissors and a sharp metal nail file in the front pocket of my black Gucci bag. I think I can defend myself armed with these two essential defense tools. But I quietly obey and drop my phone and my bag on the front seat, as he orders me to.
He tells me to open the door and let myself out. I wonder now how am I to go home without any money, ID, or phone. I stand and watch the cab speed off. I choose not to remember the license plate. I choose not to scream for help albeit I see a well-lit Police Outpost glaring in the dark blackness nearby.
I am still feeling another loss. A regret that forces me to feel nothing at all. I feel lost for not having been able to see him off. He would only be gone for 2 weeks. Now I regret not being able to say goodbye to him properly before he left this morning. I hate myself for not being honest with him or myself when it mattered.
I start to walk on the long stretch of the wet pavement. Each step hurts as an image of him kissing and calming me down when I feel terrified crosses my mind. Once, after a long day at work, I missed the train. I called him and he drove so fast to pick me up. He hugged and reassured me that my fragile self would always be safe and loved, even if he was miles away.
And now he is gone. Roughly three hours after his plane took off, it crashed in the jungles of Cuba. I was at work when I got the call from the airlines. And I did not tell anyone about it. Fact is, I did not talk at all in the office the whole time. No word yet on its passengers. No news about anything else except that the plane is in total wreck, burned and ripped into thousands of pieces. Why are they not calling me back? I have never prayed this hard in my life.
“Lord, even for just a day… an hour maybe, allow me to see him alive for the last time. I will hug him. I will apologize to him. I will tell him how much he means to me. Just this last time.”
And now it scares me to think if he will ever come home to me again. How much longer will I last?