Peter turned on the ignition key and his Honda City purred like a stirred kitty. His hands held the steering wheel, as he sits undecided if he should go or not. He fished his cell phone from his shirt pocket and opened the message inbox. “Are we still on for lunch today?” read the message from his wife. He glanced at his wristwatch and saw it was half an hour still before 11am, enough time to think about it. Peter replied with mixed hesitation, but mostly anticipation, “m sori hon, hav emergency miting at d ofc.” He bit his lips slightly as a breath of prayer slipped past his teeth.
Peter put his car in the first gear and pulled out from his parking lot, and out the exit gate.
Michelle placed the check she had just signed neatly under a pile of paper on her desk. She had been signing checks the whole morning and thought maybe lunch would be a good reprieve. Her watch said it was 10:36 in the morning so she took her cell phone from her purse to read a message that had just come in. it was from her husband, telling her how some meeting at the office made him unable to fetch her for lunch. She had anticipated this, as she would have been wont to do, since her husband is a very busy man.
Michelle picked up her desk phone and asked the building bellhop to get her a cab. She grabbed her purse, her jacket and hurriedly went out of her office room, and down the elevator to her waiting taxi.
Peter cruised smoothly on the highway; he wasn’t in a hurry. Traffic on Edsa seemed to be cooperating today, he thought, so there’s still a lot of time. He carefully opened his date planner and rechecked his scheduled activity for lunch. It said 11:30am, but he knew it was something they use to buy them some time together. An early lunch would mean two hours with her.
Peter steered the car towards Arnaiz Avenue and parked in front of a flower shop. He thought maybe for a change we’d surprise her with some Tulips. She likes tulips, and had hinted on him that she’d love to get some on her birthday. A few days ahead wouldn’t hurt, Peter thought, he’d still give her another bouquet of tulips then.
Peter saw through the glass doors of the shop a taxi almost sideswiping his parked car. He hurriedly went out and followed with his eyes, helplessly, the speeding cab. “Hey!” he shouted.
Michelle sat impatiently on the back seat of her taxi. She amused herself with mental notes on what the insides of this cab have, and lack. Frankly, it needs a makeover, she thought, but what can you expect from Philippine taxis. She felt uneasy being in the back; she felt uneasy riding cabs in general. The normally short drive from her office to Pasay Road seemed to take a lifetime today, what with the taxi driver being extra careful, as he had said in his just-listen-to-what-I-have-to-say chatter.
Michelle politely told the driver to speed up because she was in a hurry (to get off your stinky car, in her mind). Perhaps feeling insulted that his extra carefulness in driving wasn’t fully appreciated, the driver jerked the taxi to overtake on the right lane, with hardly an inch left in avoiding hitting a parked Honda. Michelle looked back through the taxi’s rear windshield to catch the receding image of the Honda’s owner and read his lips shout “Hey!”