How long would you wait for a bus that's not on time? Would you wait ten minutes? Twenty? Thirty?
In case you haven't already guessed, I didn't have the best of starts to my day.
I had planned my day carefully to ensure there was no chance of arriving late. The exam started at 0930 and the 0545 bus would get me there an hour and a half beforehand, allowing me plenty of time to locate the room, do some last minute revision, and enjoy a cup of tea. Sadly it was not to be.
I arrived at the bus stop five minutes before the bus was due, to discover a small, dark shape lying still on the ground. As I took in the shape and the prominent golden eyes, now lifeless and glassy, I identified it as the body of a dead blackbird. The cause of death was difficult to discern, but there were no traces of blood, and nothing to indicate that it had been killed by a cat or fox. I suspect that it may have flown into the glass wall of the bus shelter and had its neck broken by the impact. I considered moving the body to one side, but didn't like to disturb it, even though there was no sign of life and it had clearly been dead for a while.
The 0545 is often late, so I wasn't too concerned when I was still waiting at 0555. The road was quiet, the silence disrupted only by the occasional passing car. By 0605 I was aware of the first stirrings of anxiety, and I began to pray fervently under my breath. At 0620, after waiting for half an hour, I made a decision. Unfortunately it was the wrong one.
I decided that the bus wasn't coming, and that waiting was a waste of time. I opted to return home, have a quick cup of tea, and return to the bus stop in time for the next bus which would still get me to my exam on time (although it would be cutting things fine). I had just begun to walk away when I heard the rumbling of a large vehicle, and turned to see my bus pass me by. I automatically took a few steps towards the road, although I was separated by a stretch of grass, and even though I raised my hands, waving frantically, the driver did not see me.
If I was just going in for a lecture it would not have bothered me, but I was anxious about missing my exam. I balled my fists in frustration and let rip an uncontrollable sob. My tears were more out of frustration than anything, and due to lack of sleep.
I returned home resignedly, trying to pull myself together. The majority of my family were awake when I let myself in, despite the early hour. My loss of composure was blatant, and my parents began to form a contingency plan which would require my mother getting a lift to work, and make my father late. I ensured them that, kind as this was, it wasn't necessary, although if my second bus was didn't show up I would need them to be on stand by. My father made me a cup of tea and gave me a hug, both of which were more than welcome. Once I had drunk my tea it was time to return to the bus stop.
The blackbird was still there, and this time I waited with my back to it, so that I could not see it. There were more cars on the road by now, and more people around, mostly dog walkers. This time my wait was not in vain. The bus arrived right on time, and the traffic wasn't too heavy when we reached our destination, as it sometimes is.
I made it to university with twenty-five minutes to spare, and had already found a class mate to accompany me to the designated room. The exam itself wasn't too bad, but I'm pushing it to the back of my mind now. It's all over and I'm no longer a student any more! Now I need to tie up all lose ends here and start packing because I'm leaving home tomorrow! And best of all Second Lent is over and I get to see Spud! The Next Phase Begins!