She was late twice that week already. It was getting into her routine like it used to in the past. But she wasn’t going to let that happen that Friday. She was determined that she would get ready in another five minutes. Her chores had gotten her late again, but no! The chores wouldn’t have a laugh. She was going to ensure her being late for work, that day, wouldn’t come to past.

One reason she had started going late was that she didn’t want the ride anymore. Mr Musty had picked her up for the first time on a morning as cold as every other morning since she resumed. Not too cold but enough to register a feeling of calamity in one. A feeling only to be relished in the house. Not at work.

She was not even paying attention to the road until she realized that the black car that stopped a stone throw from where she was, had stopped for her. The car halted there, waiting like it was the most natural thing to do – to wait for her to get in the back seat and then zoom off; which was the exact thing she did.

The ride was just for about 3 minutes as she had neared the company already. Ordinarily, her house to the company would take her 10 minutes of walk, which she enjoyed each day. Unlike the walk to school, this walk was short and exercising; giving her a sense of physical security. She sat at the back seat and just glanced at the road ahead. There was no talking between Mr Musty and her.

As he dropped her off, she thanked him and went to sign in for the day. Two days later, he picked her up again. This day, it was even shortly after she turned into the road from her street. He had waited and she had not seen him again; until she noticed that a car wasn’t moving and it was black. On the first day he had opened the door for her; leaning over from the front to pull the knob and push the door slightly for her to know it was she he had stopped for. This time around however, he just sat there waiting for her to notice the car had stopped and when she actually did, she opened the door and got into the back seat; for the second time that week.

She noticed the car was more clogged than the first time. There weren’t plenty of stuff in it, than there were the first time. But it felt stuffy and a smell hung in the air. She gasped for air. She looked around the car for brief seconds and then refocused on the road. She glanced sideways as they approached the company gate and saw that the gateman looked at her for what seemed like a second or two. Some other staff that stopped to greet Mr Musty also took a glance at her. She was new there, and it was normal to have people wonder who she was or what department she worked at.

That morning in the car, she wondered if she could tell him what she was thinking: she didn’t want the rides. No one would understand that you are turning down their offer to give you a ride simply because you would rather have preferred your concise peaceful walk. She didn’t want to be rude or ungrateful, so she just said “thank you” when he dropped her off that morning.

The Monday that followed, she delayed her going to work. She didn’t want a ride and neither did she want to refuse one. She figured the best way was to avoid running into him or he running into her and stopping to have her hop in. On Tuesday, she delayed herself again and same happened on Wednesday. She was now getting to work around 8:02/8:03 rather than her usual 7:45 am. She hated that. She wasn’t going to be a late comer anymore because of a ride she can choose to refuse or accept.

Though she had prepared her mind to leave home earlier on this day, she was already getting accustomed to the self-imposed delays she had cultivated some few days back. Stepping out of the street and unto the road on Thursday, she glanced at the direction the car always descended from and hoped she would catch a sight of the black cloggy car. As it was already Eight O’clock in the morning.