Winter has locked its brutal grip tightly around the city of London and its hapless citizens. Vicious winds rose from the sunless tundra of the north and charged through the empty streets in wild gusts, their shrill howling a counterpoint to the silence of the shivering city. The marauding gusts brought along with them the frigid breath of north pole, with their sharp edges capable flaying every inch of exposed skin. The wild, gusting winds,aided by the frigid temperature, became unstoppable lances made of sheer misery, driving every single sensible soul back into the protection offered by warm buildings. No one dared to venture out.
“Except for me, that is,” I muttered to myself as I reluctantly stepped outside. It was 8:00 in the morning, and the air still retained memories of the brittle chill born of the night before. Immediately, winds clawed at my exposed face mercilessly, and I almost turned around to head back to my home right there. Gritting my teeth, I took another step forward, then another. Shoulders hunched, chin tucked deeply into the collar of my jacket, I tried to make myself as small a target as possible to the onslaught of the winds.
I glanced a my watch and a faint alarm rose in my chest; if I don’t hurry up, I’d be late for my bus.
Time to run like the wind.
Legs pumping, lungs on fire, ice crystals forming at the corners of my mouth and cheeks, I surged recklessly forward. The passers-by stared at me as if I were out of my mind – after all, who can blame them? Running with the uncertain footing was undeniably foolhardy, and every step I took could send me sprawling onto a patch of black ice. As I almost reached the intersection, I saw the sight that made me almost want to cry: the bus was already at the intersection and the only thing holding it back was a fickle red light. I put forth a burst of speed born of desperation, my eyes staring into the red pixels, desperately willing with every ounce of my being for them to stay red just a little longer. Fifty meters left, forty, thirty… but then the fickle Lady of luck abandoned me and the light turned green.
The bus’s engine let out a deep roar, a sound of inevitability to my ears. Letting out a sulphurous curse, I tried to make a dash with my last reserves, but at that moment but my steps faltered. Deep down, I knew it to be too late. The backpack on my back was becoming heavier and heavier by the second and I could feel exhaustion seeping into my limbs and constricting my chest. Burdened as I was under the weight books and winter coats, my stamina could hold out for long. Just as I was about to give up the race in despair, I saw the knot of students the size of a small army huddled near the bus stop. A small surge of hope rekindled in my heart: they would delay the bus long enough. Then I bolted with all I’ve got. As the last of the students filed onto the bus, I made it to the end of the line and got on.
Panting, I tried to gave myself a satisfied smile – before realizing that my facial muscle was frozen by the cold into a perfect caricature of desperation. I sighed. “Oh well, I can deal with that,” I grumbled to myself, “I made it on, and that’s all that matters!”