Short Stories

Rush Hour Traffic!

I looked at the time displayed on the bottom right corner of my laptop as I was furiously typing my response to the client’s queries. It took a while for the impact of the time I saw to register into my mind. The moment it did register though, I started to panic. It was past 5 pm. Half an hour late from the time I usually leave from work.

Oh dear, I am really late. At this rate, I will never make it to the airport on time. I have at least an hour and a half drive to get to the airport, add the evening rush hour traffic on the Interstate, the drive is going to be anything but smooth. But there was no way I could leave without sending that email, the project deadline was fast approaching and I could not afford to mess with it.

Finally, I hit the send button on the email and shut down my laptop almost immediately. I dumped the laptop and other necessities into my backpack, grabbed my keys and ran out of the office to the parking garage. The cold winds stalked me and tore right through my clothing making me realize that I had left my coat behind. I am left with no choice but to run back into the office and grab my coat if I was wanted to reach my car alive rather than as a frozen form of human remains.

After getting my coat, I made a dash for the car that is parked almost a quarter mile away. Thanks to all the snow from the week before, most parking spaces were yet to be plowed and getting a descent spot to park had become a challenge.

By the time, I got to my car and was ready to drive out of the garage, it was 5.15 p.m. Darn! This means, I will not reach the airport before 6.15 p.m. and that too if the Gods of Road Traffic bless me with no traffic on the Interstate. I prayed as hard as I could to the Traffic Gods to be kind to me, this one evening! When I made a stop at the red signal, I stealthily picked my cell phone from the dash and typed a message to my brother asking if his flight had already landed and how long before he was out in the cold waiting for me. I knew as I typed the message that his flight had landed an hour back and that he would be out of the airport in another half hour tops. Nevertheless, I decided there was no harm in checking if he did need some extra time at the baggage, perhaps? I hit send on my cell phone and waited for his response. I didn’t realize I was holding my breath until the car behind me honked making me jump out of my skin! The green signal came on, I put the cell phone aside and continued up the road.

At the next signal, I picked my cell phone again. I noticed my message was yet to be delivered. So I copied the same message and this time sent it to my sister who was waiting for us at home. Thankfully, the message was delivered to her. Before I could check my response, the signal came on and I put my phone aside.

I guess it was my lucky day, the Gods did listen to my prayers after all. When I took the exit to the interstate, it was open to smooth free flowing traffic. Did everyone leave early because it was a Friday? This route is always packed, whatever happened today? I wondered as I drove on with a smile too big.

Thanks to the Traffic Gods, I was able to reach the connecting state route that takes me to the airport by 5.50 p.m. Not bad! If I keep the same pace, I can get to the arrivals section in 10 minutes, I thought! And that’s exactly what I did. I noticed the sign board displaying the speed limit in big bold numbers and zoomed past it. Just as I was beginning to smile thinking that I am not so late after all, I noticed the blue, red and white light flashing behind me. In reflex mode, my eyes shot straight to the speedometer.

“Damn it! This had to happen today of all days?” I yell out to no one in particular. I curse my luck and wonder why the Gods decided to help me with the traffic, if this was what they were planning the whole time! I pulled over to the left side and waited for the officer to approach my side of the car.

I rolled down the window as I saw him.

“Hello Officer!” I said trying very hard not to sound nervous.

“Hello Miss! Do you know why I pulled you over?” he asked

Be honest, just be honest! I kept reminding myself.

“Ummm…because I was speeding?” I asked as I cringed at the words coming out of my mouth. My mind kept telling me how irresponsible I was being speeding!

“Yes, that’s right! Do you know what the speed limit is in this area?”

“Yes, it’s 45”

“And do you know what your speed was?”

I remembered looking at the speedometer, but the speed I was on hadn’t registered. I struggled to answer, but finally said “I guess, around 60?”

“No, Miss! I had you around 70 miles an hour!”

I gasped and said “What? Oh no!”

“Where are you going? I am guessing, the airport?”

“Yes, to the arrivals actually! I was going to pick up my brother.” I had no idea why I volunteered with extra information.

“What time does his flight land?”

“Umm…it has already landed, around 4.30 or so,” I said looking guilty.

“Hmm…license and registration, please!”

I fished my license and registration out and handed it to the officer.

“Wait here until I come back!” he ordered

Oh well, now I am definitely late! What’s the hurry? My mind said sarcastically and I told it to shut up!

While I was continuing the arguments with my mind, the officer came back with my papers. He handed me my registration and license and said “OK, I am letting you go this time, but be careful with your speed limits, Miss!”

“Wait, what? You are not giving me a ticket?”

“Why? Do you need one?” he asked and smiled

“No, no…! Thank you! Thank you so much!” I said

“Sure! Just be careful when you pull out of here, watch for oncoming vehicles and then move ahead slowly,” he advised

“Yes, I will!” I promised

I pulled the car out of the curb and continued down the road towards the arrivals parking. I finally pulled into an empty parking space at 6.15p.m. I waited in the car and scanned the area looking for my brother, but he was nowhere to be found. I figured he was probably still inside and breathed a sigh of relief as I picked up my cell phone to call him. That’s when I noticed my sister’s reply to my message.

I opened the message which read “R u OK!?! He’s landing tomm a’noon at 5. Come bak home” I stared at her message for a good 10 minutes. After that I let out a deep sigh, reversed the car out of the parking lot and took the road to exit the airport.

“What was I rushing for? Oh well, at least I learned not to speed!” I said to myself as I drove back home!

I was listening to random songs on YouTube and I stumbled upon this song by Alabama that was just so meaningful. This song and my habit of rushing everywhere inspired me to write this piece of fiction. I hope you enjoy the story and this song!

Image Source: Pixabay

A Single Mother with an unbreakable passion to Live the Life! I am a Writer/Author by passion and an IT Project Manager by profession. I am also the voice of Artemis at In The Pantheon - a multi-author collaborative writing project. When not hunting as Artemis, I am busy querying agents and working on my multiple writing projects. Women Empowerment and Child Rights Advocate.


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