Are We There Yet? (1)

10 May 2024

“Oh dear God, I don’t know if we’ll make it.”

Allison glanced at her watch right before she waved it around to hail the next cab coming their way and chose not to answer her friend Kyla’s panicked comment. Fortunately, the cab she wanted stopped right in front of them, and she quickly slid to the front seat of the cab while her friends threw their bags inside the trunk before tumbling in at the back seat.

Manong, Intramuros po.” Allison said, fastening her seat belt as soon as she closed the door. She put her bag on her lap, thankful that she wasn’t wearing her bridesmaid’s dress yet because her bag would definitely wrinkle it. To her relief, the cab driver did not complain about the distance that they would travel from Quezon City to Manila, and instead just pressed a button on the electronic meter on the dashboard and started moving. Allison breathed out a sigh and leaned back on her seat.

“Here’s food. Allison, do you want some?” Marge asked, passing her the paper bag that contained two slices of thick bread that their friend bought for them while they were having their make-up done. Allison took it from her, pulled one of the slices out, tore a piece off and carefully bit on it so she won’t ruin her lipstick. She almost swooned at the first bite — she didn’t realize she was so hungry until now.

“Allison, do you think we’ll make it?” Kyla asked from the backseat, tone worried.

She looked at her watch again. They were supposed to be at the hotel by half past noon, and it was already quarter past. Traveling from Quezon City to Manila takes an hour, tops — fifteen minutes was impossible. Unless there were no traffic, which was also impossible given that it was already so close to Christmas and everyone knows its traffic everywhere. She can only imagine how much their taxi fare would be.

Allison shook her head. “No, we won’t. But let’s just hope we won’t be too late.” She paused, and then added, “Not so terribly late, anyway.”

The girls at the back fell silent as the cab driver cruised along the road, which was blessedly free from traffic. Allison felt her hopes go up thinking that if the roads stay this way, they may reach Intramuros within 45 minutes. But her relief was too soon as she caught sight of the congested roads when they reached the flyover. Allison bit her lip, forgetting momentarily that she was wearing lipstick that was a part of the thousand-peso hair and make-up package her she and her friends just availed for their friend Sarah’s wedding.

The wedding where the bridesmaids might not make it on time.

“Well, at least traffic is moving,” Allison said lightly, but she was met with snorts from the back seat. She gave her friends a hopeless smile and just sat back, her eyes back on the road. It was traffic, yes, but at least the cab was moving, so that’s already something she should be thankful for.

“They can’t start the wedding without us, you know,” Marge piped up from the back.

“Is it because we’re the bridesmaids? Who says they can’t? The Beth and Angie are already there,” Kyla said.

“No. Allison has the wedding rings, remember?”

At the mention of the rings, Allison reached inside her bag to check on them. They were still inside her purse, nestled in a red velvet box, standing out really well from the white interior of her bag. form the Sarah had left the wedding rings with her during her bridal shower by accident, and Allison meant to give it back the next day but Sarah told her to keep them for the meantime. Sarah always loses things at the moment when she needed them the most — pens, cards, keys and jewelry, including her engagement ring which she misplaced twice — and she did not want to risk losing the wedding ring on their big day so she told Allison to keep it until the wedding day. Allison knew she should have just handed it to Sarah’s fiance when they saw him last night, or at least handed them to Jonathan so she won’t have to think about it, but it was all too late.

And they were definitely late. The cab turned to EDSA and Allison had to suppress a groan when she saw how many cars were on the road in front and around them. Oh they were definitely, definitely late. And they haven’t even changed into their dresses yet.

“Well,” Marge said with a hollow, defeated laugh. “So who’s going to call Sarah?”

Someone’s phone rang just as Marge said that, and the three of them exchanged looks until Allison realized that the ringing was coming from her bag. She reached inside her bag again and pulled her phone out, mentally running through the valid excuses she can tell Sarah why they were still not at the hotel where they were supposed to be. However, all the excuses flew out of her head when she saw the name flashing on the caller ID.

“Who is it? Is it Sarah?” Kyla asked.

“No,” Allison said slowly, still staring at her phone. “It’s Jonathan.” She glanced at her friends, who all gave her the look, before she finally pressed answer. It’s not like she cannot answer this call — or any call, for that matter –from her best friend.

“Allison. Where are you?” Jonathan’s voice came from the other line, slightly choppy but still clear enough for Allison to imagine him pacing back and forth from wherever he was, just like how she has seen him do so many times whenever he was on a phone call. It was like he could never sit still when he’s on the phone, and it drives her nuts when she was with him and someone calls and he does that.

“EDSA.” It was the safest answer Allison can give, especially since there was a long stretch of that road, and in reality, they just passed by the Shrine along that major road. Traffic had let up a little bit so they were pretty much constantly in motion, but it was still not as fast as Allison would have wished. It was already quarter to one, and they have to be at the church by two. They weren’t even halfway to the hotel yet.

“Where in EDSA?”

Allison sighed. “We just passed by Megamall.” And they just did, so at least that was the truth and not some lie that people would expect from people who are late. The kind of lie where people say they were already on their way but really, they were just about to get ready to leave annoy Allison. She avoided doing that as much as she can, even if it meant delaying the answer just so she can give the most truthful one she can.

Jonathan knew that about her, so he did not ask for their location again. “Is traffic bad?”

“Not really,” Allison said, finally relaxing a little bit. “But we’re still far away. How are things there?”

“Well. The girls are in a photo shoot, and you are all missing it. Why are you all running late, anyway?”

“It’s a long story, Jonathan,” Allison said. “Maybe I’ll tell you later when we’re almost there. But it would take a while.”

“You should have just asked me to pick you guys up. Why didn’t you?”

She should have expected him to bring that up, but lately she did not know what to expect about Jonathan. It was just like him to ask, but it was not like him to offer. This also drives Allison nuts, and she wished that he would not leave it up to her to ask about things and be the first to offer. To think she should have been used to him after being friends for several years, but lately the things have been weird with him and she did not want to rock the boat further.


“You should have asked me to pick you guys up. Why didn’t you?”



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