We were going to be late for class. I woke up at six thirty, did all of my laundry, read my email, drafted a post, washed the dishes, folded the blankets in the parlor … and i was still going to be late for class, along with a freshly out of bed Lindsay. She brushed her teeth as she made corrections on my bow-tying abilities. I dashed back upstairs to frantically look for my favourite belt while Lindsay was frantically trying to pull her hair back tight enough to her head that she could muster a tiny “nubbin” of a ponytail. It was at this point that Erika emerged from her room practically still in a state of sleep, glibly relating her dream of being Heart from Captain Planet to us as if she was unaware of our need to be a mile and a half away in the next thirty minutes. Lindsay switched from a clip to a rubber-band and off-handedly asked which of our friends played the part of the blonde russian girl in the Captain Power team as i frantically arranged and rearranged flowers.
Erika couldn’t remember, so she started talking about the wonders of Olympic Downhill Skiing, which she had been watching just before three.
I turned to Lindsay. “We’re going to be late, aren’t we?” She replied through teeth clenched around a hair-tie. “Don’t worry; we’re taking the bus.”
Back up the stairs i went, this time to collect bus money (since my wallet was empty save for a single quarter) from my change jar. Erika’s voice wafted up behind me as she idly teased her pet frog. She, apparently, has the day off from work. Next came Lindsay’s voice, not nearly as calm: “Bus at quarter of, are you coming?”
“Yes!” was both my reply and an exclamation at having found the twenty-some coins i would need to get onto the bus. Leather jacket got thrown on, scarf was wrapped around neck, but Blistex was stupidly left behind on my desk. Downstairs again Lindsay was clawing through her desktop clutter to find her cell-phone and i was screaming down the hall about whether or not i should defrost my chicken in the refrigerator. Poultry was subsequently relocated, flowers were primped a final time, and then Lindsay practically threw me down our entry stairs. Out the door we went in a chattering stumbling tangle of her long denim jacket and my felt-like gloves as i fumbled for keys. Door locked tightly, we were down the steps of our porch and heading north to the Chestnut bus stop.
Lindsay stopped dead twenty-five feet under Walnut. “Wait.”
She was clawing through her backpack now; “I need to make copies of my paper.”
“But i only have bus fare.”
“I need a quarter. I’m going to fail if i don’t have another quarter. Oh my god, Peter, we have to go back.”
Out came my wallet, out came the last quarter i had to my name, and all was well. Well until we arrived at Chestnut street to find the bus a half a block ahead of us; about as far as a bus can get in the time it takes for one roommate to paw through her bookbag while the other similarly examines his wallet.
“I am not running after it.”
I offered no argument at all.