Passing a fellow foot-commuter at the wrong point of the journey

Amelia was approaching the church,
but her morning nod-buddy,
Smooth-Skinned Cyclist,
y’know the chap who cycles past every morning wearing black shorts
and a sweaty sports t-shirt
over his smooth, smooth skin,
was nowhere to be seen.

She went to check her watch;
she’d forgotten it.
She reached for her phone;
the battery was dead.

Amelia began to panic:
What time was it?
Am I late? Is he late?
I can’t be late,
not today,
I have that presentation to prepare.

He’s had quite a stern face lately,
to be fair,
maybe he’s having a tough week too
and had to be in early.
Yeah, he probably left early.
I’ve simply missed him.
I’ll be fine.

But then
I did spot his wedding ring was
missing the other day,
I remember because I no longer felt
guilty for smiling at him with my teeth,
it’s just the way I smile but
people – men – always take it the
wrong way.
And I did smell alcohol as he went by yesterday.
Maybe he’s over indulging because
his wife has left him.
Maybe she died?
Poor bugger.
He’s probably struggling to keep to his schedule.
I can’t blame him.
I’ll probably pass him in a few minutes.
I should give him
a big teethy smile.

Actually, there’s quite a few other
regulars I should’ve seen by now.
What if Smooth-Skinned Cyclist
is hungover and still asleep,
making him really, really late,
and I’m in fact as late as him?
Even later than I originally thought.
Oh Christ, I’m late.
I can’t be late,
not today,
I have that presentation to prepare.

Amelia was long past the church
as she began her “just-in-case” large
strides.
Turning the corner to enter the park
she saw a build up of people.
Amongst them were a few missing morning companions:
there was Four Chihuahua Lady,
The Chirpy Twins,
Grey Suit Man
and Just Pop A Comb Through It Boy.
None of them were where they
were supposed to be.

Amelia was at her wits end.
She started running,
convinced she was late,
but as she arrived at the gathered
commuters
her heart sank.
Smooth-Skinned Cyclist was lying
in the middle of the group;
two paramedics stood above him.
One turned to the other and whispered:
“Time of death, 8.16am.”

“My God,” said Amelia.
“I’ve got plenty of time.”

© Carl Burkitt 2013

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