Fiction and Opinion: Time And Chance

Annelise Lords

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time sometimes demands exceptional circumstances.
Shut and open Calotropis procera, a.k.a Sodom's AppleImage by Annelise Lords

“I am so sorry about your son’s death, mam,” Sergeant Sean Ingram express his sorrow to Mrs. Wilma Wellington.

Nodding, the effects of the bad news she had just received showed no emotion and shocked the two veteran police officers. They exchanged looks with furled brows, and she asked, “what time did my son die?”

“Don’t you want to know how?” one of the officers asked.

“What time did the accident occur?” she repeats.

Sergeant Ingram sighs, eyeing his partner, then reports, “my partner and I were five minutes away from the accident when we got the call. We arrived at the scene at 3:32 PM. The paramedics pronounced Mr. Paul Wellington dead one minute later.”

“So, you would say his exact time of death was 3:33 PM?”

The officer’s eyes touched again, staring at her with confusion. Then Sergeant Ingram relates, “Yes, mam,” sending visual signals to his partner.

“How far was the accident from Lister Street?” she continued her interrogation.

Repeating another touch, Sergeant Lindsay said, “Actually, it’s around the corner. May I ask why?” he went on, fueled by curiosity.

“Time and chance got him,” Mrs. Wellington said without emotion, a frightening look in her eyes.

“Mam, it was an accident,” Sergeant Ingram assured, his eyes pooped out of their sockets by her remark.

She didn’t stop.

“I warned him for years not to cheat time because he will end up at the wrong place at the wrong time at some point in his life. Giving chance an opportunity it can’t refuse.”

“It was an accident,” both police officers tried to persuade her.

“I know, but he should have been at work. He lied and left early,” she said.

“Mam, it was . .” Sergeant Rohan Lindsay reached out to stop his partner.

“Chance always gets its way,” regret stained her face, and the right emotion emerged. “If he had left the regular time like the other employees, he might have still been alive.”

“I mean no disrespect, mam,” Sergeant Lindsay said, “but in all of my twenty years as a police officer, this is the first time I have encountered anything like what you just said. Can you explain, please?”

She smiled as if she had wanted to reveal this for years, then enlightened, “my son has no respect for time. His father has the most shares in Wellington and Samuels Industries. They allowed him to do what he wanted. So, he always goes in late and leaves early. He has a habit of cheating time.”

“That doesn’t make sense,” slips past Sergeant Ingram’s brain and shoots out of his mouth.

It was as if she was in a trance. She went out without an effect, “being at the wrong place at the wrong time demands a certain situation that goes beyond our control. My son could have controlled the circumstance that puts him at death’s door. Time demands to be paid, and chance steps in and does its job. Don’t cheat time,” she turns away, heading back inside without a drop of tears from the loss of her only child.

Shock held them in position for a few moments.

“She is nuts!” Sergeant Ingram said after she shut the door, turning away.

Sighing and following his partner towards the patrol car, Sergeant Lindsay shares, “No, she isn’t. She is saner than you and I.”

“How?” he asks, opening the car's passenger side.

“She saw what lies ahead and warned him.”

“How can a mother think that way about her son?”

“One who knows her child,” Sergeant Lindsay said.

“Damn!” Sergeant Ingram sat down, slamming the car door shut. “My mother often warned me about several bad habits I had that will kill me if I don’t stop.”

“All mothers do,” Sergeant Lindsay agrees. “I warn you too about them, and in our line of duty, time and chance can be the enemy.”

“I guess it’s time to start listening!”

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time sometimes demands exceptional circumstances. Sometimes our bad habits put us into the path of time and chance, and some of us lose.

In my culture, three is death. Thirty-three is double death. So, you can guess the next step. Most Jamaicans don’t allow certain things to get to stage three.

Thank you for reading this piece. I hope you enjoy it.

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I don't limit myself, because I learn from the actions, choices, decisions, and life of everyone I know. I study and learn from all of my life's circumstances and situations, and also yours. My power of words is about life, awareness, the value, and the simplicity of commonsense, especially when it's not used. Life lessons are in everything we do. I will show them to you.

Poughkeepsie, NY

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