In Due Time
‘When the time comes, you’ll know.’
That had been her grandmother’s advice when she first delivered the news. Tracy stood alone on the sidewalk and eagerly searched for the bus. Her pink and yellow umbrella served as the only protection between herself and the heavy rain coming down. She’d known it to be dreary, but she hadn’t ever known it to rain so much. Her backpack and the small parcel she held remained dry, but as the cars sped by she knew that one of the puddle sprays would reach her, and then she’d be drenched.
The bus was definitely behind schedule.
She feared she’d be late for her weekly visit with her grandmother. Age had taken Grandma Greta’s memories, but Tracy’s visits had become familiar and when she remembered her, her grandmother always enjoyed their time together.
The bus screeched to a stop and she was relieved to see her favorite driver. His smile always caused the corners of his eyes to crinkle. Even on the cloudiest day, he was a ray of sunshine. They’d become well acquainted over the last few months. Always the gentleman, he exited the bus, held her umbrella high up so that she could take his forearm. The first step had become something of a challenge. At that moment she felt it. All that effort to keep herself dry and now she felt soaked. Her umbrella was utterly useless. She gasped and squeezed him tight.
“Ms. Tracy?” He steadied her. “Are you alright?”
“It’s time, William.”
She inhaled deeply through her nose and nodded rapidly.
He helped her to sit, then announced over the intercom that there had been an emergency and they were going to the hospital. It was in the opposite direction. They’d have to go back the way they’d come. She placed her hand on her belly soothing the baby inside. The rain came down in sheets and the hospital was ten minutes away.
She made eye contact in the rearview mirror with William. He smiled. She grimaced.
“Not long now,” they both said.