Fourteen Minutes (Part I)

It was 2.42 p.m. At Tamarind station, several passengers boarded the empty last carriage and settled down. Less than a minute later, the train moved off the station and headed east.

Sitting by the window, Selena stared at the passing images as the train moved along the track. She was not sure if life could go on well then. James was a jerk, but her feelings for him were strong. She remembered the first day she met him. She recalled how he had swept her off her feet with the flowers and the cards. And then, there was the first kiss – simple, yet sensational. Everything was beautiful…until she saw him moments earlier. There he was, standing at the platform and hugging another girl. He saw her. She glared at him, looking for his answer. All he gave her was a smirk on his face. Tears rolled down her cheeks and stained her school uniform. Could suicide be a solution? Her eyes still fixed on the images outside.

The future seemed bright. At least that was what the financial report was indicating in the Business Times. Teck Meng was sure that boom time in the market had arrived. He knew he could start flexing his muscles with his stocks and bonds in hand. He picked up his N95 and checked the latest status of his portfolios. Then, he made the call to his agent. Before coming on board the train, he had just clinched yet another deal for his insurance business. Everything was looking up for him. He smiled before turning his head to the right. Then, he saw a schoolgirl and her tears.

Azmi held Rosnah’s hand tightly as both of them were still grappling with the cold hard truth they had received. The doctor’s diagnosis confirmed their fear – she had breast cancer. Azmi’s sense of guilt had just deepened since. He should have spent more time with his wife the last couple of years. He should have been there for her. Linda’s voice was ringing in Rosnah’s ears, “It’s never too early to go for mammography screening, Rosnah.” She wanted to cry out loud, but strangely, she had no tears.

“I’m afraid we might have to remove your breast,” Dr Chan had said. Then, she heard the young man sitting next to her on the left saying, “Yes, Dixon! Sell them for me…all of them. Thanks!”

Lee Hoon’s hands cupped her huge tummy. She could feel him move from within. She had been smiling for a while now, and she didn’t think she could stop. Dennis had told her on the phone that he was returning home earlier than expected from Dubai. He said he missed her much and was really looking forward to seeing her. She wanted to rush home and cooked up a feast for him. She lowered her chin and looked at the bulge on her tummy, “Baby, Daddy’s coming home today. Mummy’s so happy. I’m sure you will be happy when you hear his voice later.” She felt so blessed by God as she pondered over her future. As she looked out of the train window to check her whereabouts, she couldn’t help noticing the glum look on the faces of the middle-aged Malay couple sitting on the opposite side.

Little Raj was playing with his classmate, Jean. They had just completed their remedial lessons with their P3 class, so they thought it was their right to play as much as possible to unwind and to forget about their work stress. Jean was trying to tag Raj and they were running in circles in the scarcely-populated carriage. They were screaming away, oblivious to their surroundings. Then Raj tripped and fell in front of a pregnant lady who promptly helped him up. Without thanking her, he quickly returned to his seat, blaming Jean at the same time for his fall.

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Published in: on Friday, December 14, 2007 at 12:39 am  Comments (6)  

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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I love these glimpses of how lives are interconnected. Can’t wait to read part 2!

  2. Nice post…waiting for Part 2!

  3. I loved these interconnected vignettes, CS – brilliant. I look forward to seeing part 2!
    It’s interesting, isn’t it, being an observer in a train or a bus, we don’t know what happens in the lives of others, most times we barely notice them, yet each life plays out its own drama or joy.

    PS you’ve been tagged/infected with a viral story over at my place…

  4. i thank you, aine and Mariposa, for your encouragement!

    once again, Vanilla, you have been very very nice with your compliment! as for the virus…no thanks and thanks! i will try to do it.

  5. And so our lives’ paths intersect and diverge – nobody knows who or what the next moment will bring…
    Well written, CS!

  6. i’m glad you liked it, Vesper. more to come.


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