No Choice But to Keep Going


George looked at his watch. He raised his sight and looked out through the window. Was it too late to drive home? After all it was raining and one of the wiper of the car was missing.  He looked at his watch again and he made a decision. There was really no choice.  The exam was next morning and it was only the most important test ever that would validate all his college years.

It was going to be dark soon so he hurried up, packed all his stuff for the weekend and rechecked everything he needed.  He saw the calculator on top of his bedside table, right next to the broken sunglasses. What was he thinking?  He couldn’t forget the most important tool for the test.  He picked up the calculator, the car keys and his bag.  He opened the door.  It was raining hard now.  His car was not far away from the door.  He ran under the rain and nervously took more time to open the door than he normally would.  It was not going to be easy.  He looked at his watch for the third time.  It was 6:00 PM.  He thought he should be home by 9 o’clock.

It always took more than one try to turn on his ten-year old Nissan Sentra hatch-back.  It had served him well during all this years.  Luckily the missing wiper was on the passenger side.  He drove away from his apartment and headed to the highway.  Traffic was heavy.  It took a while to get out of the town and into the highway.  It was probably 30 minutes into the trip when it happened.  The only remaining wiper flew away.  It happened in slow motion.  He could see how the wiper started to vibrate as it went back and forth in front of him.  The wind must have caught it and it flew gracefully away.  Nothing to do but to watch as rain drops started to accumulate in the windshield and how visibility went downhill.   What could he do?  He couldn’t stop in the middle of the highway, under the rain, to look for a windshield wiper that was probably crushed by now.  And he had no wrench or any other tool in the hatch-back to place the wiper back into place.  He drove to the shoulder, turned on the hazard lights and stared deeply into nothingness.  Should he turn back now?  Forget about the test?  Was it worth all the trouble?  It would be two and half hours of additional driving in “normal” conditions.  It was definitely closer to turn back.  But there was really no other choice.  He had to keep going.  

George turned off the hazard lights,  lowered his window, put his head out and drove on.  As he sped up he could feel the rain drop hitting his face harder.  He drove slower.  He didn’t know how long the road was until that day.  He had traveled that way hundreds of times and it had never felt like it would never end.  He kept asking himself what was he doing.  All the misery.  He was wet, cold and his neck was starting to hurt.  It was 9:00 PM.  It had taken him three hours to drive half way to his home.  He had to stop.  It was a small town.  Everything looked closed.  He managed to buy a burger, french fries and a soda.  He continued searching for a gas station, maybe he could buy a wiper. 

After four gas stations, non with 24-hour service, all with their shops closed, he had to refuel.  He asked the clerk where could he find a wiper at that hour.  The clerk looked at him with sadness.  After a while, the clerk looked up and said,  “Wait here”.  He disappeared behind the station.  “Where is he going?”, thought George.   After five minutes the clerk returned with a wiper in his hand.  George looked at it and saw it was not in a box or package of any kind.  “How much?”, asked George.  “Five dollars”, replied the clerk.  George didn’t dare asking anything else.  He really needed the wiper.  He paid and the clerk installed the wiper.  It keep raining all night long.  It took him two more hours to reach his house.  He was tired and exhausted.   But there was no time to complain.  He had to get up early the next day and go to the test.

Six months later, George was sitting next to the fountain at work.  The skies were blue, the breeze was gentle.  He had just received the professional examination results the day before.  He had passed.  He was thinking about all the difficulties and obstacles he had faced that day.  He smiled.  He remembered there is no choice but to keep going.

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