Every time, I know that it’s a bad idea. But I do it anyway. And besides, I rarely failed. I want to catch the 9:02 am train.
I look at the clock. It’s 8:49 am. “Quick!” I say. “We need to leave. Now.”
I stumble out of my building and hastily jaywalk to the parked car across the street.
The traffic builds on Cesar Chavez as expected. There are the slow cars. The trucks that seem to pause at yellow lights. The daring cyclist that speeds past us on our right.
It’s 8:56 am now, and we haven’t gone through the underpass yet. “I might miss it,” I say outloud.
The traffic clears after the underpass as most cars speed onto the freeway. This is the most flexible part. Can we make the lights? Can we dodge the cars who are lost in this warehouse district? I mentally calculate how fast I would have gotten if I was on bike, but push that thought aside. I ponder about the next train, which I have never planned for. This is the last fast train in the morning, and I remind myself that I don’t need to ever arrive on time.
It’s 8:59 am now, and the car in front of us pauses too long. It misses the safe left turn light. As we wait, I hope that no train passes in front of me so that the presence would mock me. As traffic flows and ebbs, the tracks are silent.
It’s 9:00 am and we roar in the rightmost lane as a truck in the left lane seems to thoughtfully contemplate driveways. That turn? That driveway? In the distance, I spot the cafe. People are moving slow. Does that mean the train hasn’t arrived yet? We swing into the bus lane. “The locks!” I say, as I struggle to open the door in a car we never drive.
I bid farewell and run. Run as fast I could in my flats down the stairs, fearful of toppling down like a rock. I wave my arms in the air, hoping the conductor will see me and take pity. Is that really my last passenger? Really? I smack my wallet at the machine and it beeps.
The conductor says aloud as I rush into the doors, “We have to go.”
I run up to the steps of the train car. I breathe deeply in the aisle as I find an open seat. I scold myself for being late again. But I feel a relief and pleasure wash over me as I text the words, “I made it.”