It was 9.25 in the morning. I was late to see my mother. I promised to take her out for breakfast that morning. I checked my phone again and read the text message received 15 minutes ago, “I’m already here”. A message from my mother, referring to the kopitiam that I’m supposed to meet her at. She just loved to eat out. I doubled my pace and walked swiftly towards the building in front of me.

“Sorry I’m late, terlajak tidur”, I greeted my mother. I threw kisses on her cheeks. She was seated comfortably in the isolated corner of the kopitiam. Her favorite spot. We ordered breakfast and chatted while waiting for our food to arrive.

“How’s Sherry?” she asked about my fiancée. “Err… she’s fine. We’re going shopping for our wedding preparations today, after an early lunch”, I replied.

“I know. She called me yesterday. She seemed excited on the phone”, mother continued.
“Well, she should be”, my answer brought laughter to the table.

I noticed that mother brought some magazines with her. Latest editions of Pengantin, Pelamin and some other related materials. It was going to be a long morning, I said to myself. But to be honest, it’s nice to share these kinds of things with my mother. We had a great morning together.

The clock ticked its way to 11.43 in the morning. “Oh God, I’m late!”, I gasped. “I was supposed to meet Sherry at 12.00!”
“OK then, send my love to Sherry”,
mother said. “Same time next Saturday?”
“It’s a date!”,
I promised her and went to settle the bill at the counter.

I went out of the kopitiam and prepared myself to cross the then empty street.

*****

Julia was a self-establish career-woman, married to Jaffrin, a businessman for 7 years. They had no children. She just found out that her husband had cheated on her. Her husband was at that moment on a “business-trip” to Singapore. She walked lifelessly along the side of the road, grasping a photograph in her right hand. A last known photo of her happier times with Jaffrin, she liked to believe. Tears were still dripping from her eyes. Moments before, she had ransacked her own home as an impulse to the news she’d just received. Every inch of her home with Jaffrin was turned inside out. Fragile stuff were broken to pieces. But she salvaged the one single photograph.

As she was walking, she saw a bus coming from ahead of the road, approaching fast. She waited. She waited. She waited. When she thought the timing was right, she closed her eyes and jumped into the middle of the street.

The driver’s reflex was superb. He swung hard the steering wheel just to avoid the bus from hitting the woman by a matter of inches. Julia can feel the rapid gust of air in her face. The bus did not hit her, but it went out of control, swerving along the curved road with its momentum. The photograph slipped from Julia’s hand and floated into the drain with the help of the bus’ shock wave.

The bus finally stopped after an impact with a parked car. In between the wrecks was a motionless man who tried to cross the street.

*****

OK, I wasn’t being totally honest. I did not meet my mother that morning. Nor was I at any kopitiam, having breakfast. I was at Linda’s apartment. We were fucking. Linda was Sherry’s best friend from college. I got to know her from a birthday party some times ago. Yes, it was an affair. But I was being truthful about being late on meeting Sherry that afternoon.

Before I left the apartment, Linda said to me, “Send my love to Sherry”. I dressed myself up again. “Same time next Saturday?”, she continued.
“It’s a date!”, I said and hurried downstairs.

And I did try to cross that unfortunate street that morning.

*****

It was 2.45 in the afternoon. I was standing in the middle of the cold mortuary room, looking right at my own corpse, lying on the steel slab. Pale. The cause of fatality was a severe head injury. I can see the crack of the skull on my corpse’s head.

Why am I still standing here? I can understand that I caused the wrath of God, not to mention other people if they knew what I did. Well, I’m dead already. I guess it’s too late for me to learn the lesson.

Maybe I’m still here just to narrate this story until it ends.

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