She willed for him to turn and see her cry but he didn't. He kept running on at a rapid pace. She shouted his name until she felt her lungs would burst and still he kept on running. Had he looked back, he would've seen the woman he loved break into a thousand particles as the 18-wheeler truck hit her. If only he took the time to stop and listen to her pleas, she wouldn't have suffered such untimely death. He stopped running just as her head disappeared beneath the massive vehicle's monstrous tires only to wipe away his tears and he went on again, not daring to look back; not willing to forgive.
9 HOURS EARLIER
He walks home exhausted, expecting to see the table laid with warm food. As he opens the door, a rush of cold air settles in. He ignores it and proceeds to the living room where he lays down his briefcase and reaches for his slippers. Odd, his girlfriend’s slippers aren’t there, so are her other shoes. None of her footwear remains. Again, he ignores the thought and starts undressing. He makes his way to the bedroom, expecting to see his girlfriend in bed, sleeping, after a long tiring day. As he opens the door, the cold wind rushes in and exits through the open window. He frowns. She knows there are a lot of criminals in this area; thieves; murders. So why does she leave the window open? A perfect portal for a perfect crime. He closes the window and opens the closet, looking for his evening clothes, only to find the closet empty. He frowns in confusion. Where did all his clothes go? And where the hell is she? He waits until midnight and still she doesn’t come. He waits until 2am. And still, no sign of her. He checks his cellphone, no messages; no calls. It was as though she just vanished from his life; from him. But still, he patiently waits in the living room, expecting her to return with something really special that would’ve caused her delayed arrival. At 6am, he decides to take a walk outside so he wouldn’t fall asleep. It was cold so he decided to jog. He was almost a mile off when she saw him.
She willed for him to turn and see her cry but he didn't. He kept running on at a rapid pace. She shouted his name until she felt her lungs would burst and still he kept on running. When he finally heard her screams, he looked back just in time to see the woman he loved break into a thousand particles as the 18-wheeler truck hit her. He started to run towards her just as her head disappeared beneath the massive vehicle's monstrous tires and it was then that he lost consciousness.
He was jerked vigorously awake and he looked around only to realize that he was at work. It was his officemate that waked him.
“Boss”, he mouthed, while pointing subtly at his shoulder. He thanks his officemate silently and goes back to work. Weird dream. He quietly looks around him. He doesn’t know what it is but something feels odd. It was as though he’d already lived this day and he was living it all over again. He dismissed the thought and went back to work.
That night, after work, he walks home exhausted. He starts his normal routine; he takes his shoes off then changes his attire. As he reaches for his slippers, he sees that his girlfriend’s are not there. Something in the back of his mind tells him to look in the closet. He does what his instinct told him and opens the closet only to find it without content. And that’s when everything comes back to him; his girlfriend, the truck, the accident. He looks at his watch. It was 9pm. It happened at 6am. He had 9 hours to change what was meant to be. He tries calling her first to no avail. She wouldn’t answer his calls. She wouldn’t reply to any of his text messages. When he called her at work, her boss said she left early that day. She’d asked permission to do some “important matters”. How important could these “matters” be that she neglects to remember her boyfriend? Her fiancé?
Frantic and time-pressured, he decides to circle the city to look for her. He hails a cab and starts the search. Time flies by and still he fails to find her. It was almost 3am when he almost dozed to sleep. The cab driver jerked him and asked for the payment because he had to retire for the day. He gave the driver what was due and got off the cab. He looked around; he was 30 minutes away from home on wheels. On foot, it would take almost 2 hours. He checks his cellphone and almost threw it off when he sees her name reflected in front of him. She was calling! He pressed the answer button just as his cellphone died. He had no spare batteries. He screamed in frustration. He looks around and looks for another cab but he doesn’t find any. He checks his watch. He had three hours. He starts running towards home.
At half past four, he passes by a parked car with two police officers inside. It gave him the most outrageous idea but it was the only thing he could think of. He approached the vehicle and told the officers that he had very valuable information for them. He tells them that he knows of a certain 18-wheeler truck carrying smuggled goods. The officers suddenly became alert to what he was saying. He described the truck that was to kill his girlfriend and he told the officers which way it would come from before 6:00 comes. The police officers thank him and they quickly went on their way. He smiles at his brilliant idea and continues running at a slightly slower pace. He arrives home at half past 5. He showers quickly and gets dressed. Then he goes out and waits for his girlfriend to arrive. 6:00 comes and goes. He sees no signs of his girlfriend or the truck. It worried him but he thought that maybe that meant his girlfriend was safe. At 8:00, he decides to go home, maybe his she was already there, waiting for him. He smiles as he begins to walk towards home. It was then that he heard the sirens.
His head jumps up and looks at the direction it was coming from. He walks at a somewhat quicker pace and it was then that he heard her voice. She was two blocks ahead of him, waving. He waves back but he was not seeing her. He was seeing what was happening behind her because at that moment, a truck came screeching down the corner, tailed by numerous police cars. He looks at his girlfriend and tries to warn but she doesn’t understand. Instead, she beckons him to follow her and she enters a small building. He sprints after her a second too late. The truck rolls drunkenly on the highway road out of control and reaches the building before he does. Shocked by the massive turn of events, adrenaline washed over him and he runs more rapidly towards the building where he last saw his girlfriend enter. Just before he reaches it, however, a massive explosion originates from the 18-wheeler truck, igniting the adjacent buildings close to it, including the building where she entered.
He closes his eyes and breathes slowly, taking in large amounts of air with each inspiration. He opens his eyes and looks around. He was at the top of a building, watching the sun rise. How beautiful it was, especially in the mornings. He smiled as he remembered how she used to laugh and say that the sun was always looking at him. He closes his eyes in pain. He’d seen her die; twice. And he’d done nothing to prevent it. Or maybe he did, but it always wasn’t enough. He had so many questions but was offered little answers and as of now, the only answer he could think of was to jump down the hundred-floor building to join his girlfriend. He smiles and whispers
“Wait for me. I’m coming.”
Then he jumps off.
He wakes up sweating and checks his watch. 4:00 am. He had no memory of what he did, just what happened. He couldn’t remember jumping off the building but he did remember his girlfriend dying. It brought such pain in his heart that he willed himself not to breath. He goes to the bathroom and takes a long warm bath. Afterwards, he opens his computer and files a resignation letter. He wanted to move away, he wanted to move on. At 6:00, he leaves his house and walks down the street to the place where he worked. As he comes round the corner, as though in flashback, he sees, for real, his girlfriend crying out to someone and, to his horror, right there before his eyes, he sees her body crushed into mush by the 18-wheeler truck. In terror and in pain, he looks up to see who it was his girlfriend was crying after and oddly, he sees himself collapse on the other side of the street.
He didn’t believe in second chances. He didn’t believe in fate. He didn’t believe in any of it; only his girlfriend did. And look where it got him. It’s been two weeks since the tragic incident. Two weeks since he saw his girlfriend die three times. Two weeks since he started believing in miracles again. He used to think that the past, the present and the future occurred in three different dimensions and now he knew he was wrong. The past, the present and the future are all simultaneous. It all occurs at the same time. That was the only explanation he could think of after the massive turn of events in his life 2 weeks ago.
He didn’t believe in second chances. For him, there’s just one chance and whatever your decision is, you have to live with it for the rest of your lifetime. Things happened though. People change; and so do their perceptions. Now he believes that the future belongs only to those people who choose to let go of their past and live their present, to make their future. That’s why he kept reliving the moment she died, because he wouldn’t let go. But now, he was trying to.
As he sat there in his bedroom, no, their bedroom, he remembered how she smiled at him, how she made him laugh, how she kissed him, how she took care of him. The trace of a tear appears at the corner of his eye and he wipes it away. He reaches over and opens her chest drawer, intending to pack what was left of her things. As he packed her belongings in a separate box, something caught his eye; a newspaper clipping. He reaches over and reads it. It was an article about him. As he read on, tears poured down his cheeks. He cries to the heavens to forgive him, to give him another chance to live, to let him live the life his girlfriend gave. It was all he hoped for. It was all he wanted. It was all he needed to keep him alive.
“Unidentified Man Killed In A Tragic Accident”
As she reads the article, fear grips her throat. The newspaper came from the newspaper boy but the news it contained was dated the next day, not today. Maybe the publisher got it wrong; maybe it was just a typographic error. But she couldn’t dismiss the thought because she was more than sure that it was her boyfriend, or what was left of her boyfriend’s body, poking out from under the massive truck. She cries in exasperation. It was all too much for her. What did it mean? Was this a premonition? Was her boyfriend gonna die? No! He can’t! He had so much ahead of him! He had all these dreams. He was going to places. He cannot die.
She sits on the bed and contemplates. She bows her head and prays. She’d always believed in the power of dreams, or omens, or premonitions. She wondered if this was a sign that somebody was supposed to die. She cries and cries until she’d cried all her tears out. How could this happen to them? They were the most perfect couple on earth! She looks around at her room, at their bedroom. She sees memories of him; how he was such a jolly person; how he had so much dreams. And so, she decided. She’d always believed in fate; in odd coincidences. She wanted to make a future for him. She wanted to keep him alive.
And so, at 6am, she knew what was coming. She knew he was supposed to die, but she interfered. She did what needed to be done so the status quo could be changed. She traded places with her boyfriend. She plotted events that would lead herself into this mess and would keep him far enough.
When death came, she embraced it with open arms because she knew she was dying for a cause. She knew that with every breath deprived of her, another human would walk freely on Earth. She willed for him to forgive her, that she couldn’t explain what was happening, or what was about to happen, or what happened. It would be for the best, she hoped. But she prayed though, that it time, he would stop blaming himself and he would understand what was really meant to be. She prayed that he would come to realize that the reason he couldn’t do anything to save her was that she’d already changed his past, so he had a future waiting for him. She prayed that he would always remember that she did it for love; that she did it for him.
And lastly, she prayed that he would always live his life like he would, without any regrets. She didn’t exactly leave him; she’d be with him always, just not in the presence he was so accustomed to. She hoped he’d always remember the day both of them died but one of them walking away, unharmed, and prepared to live a life laid out before him. She prayed that he would always remember the day fate knocked on his doorstep, and he answered.