It was a gray day. Rain descended in torrents and thoroughly soaked those who had not thought to bring an umbrella. If an object was more than ten feet before someone, to his eyes it would be practically invisible through the thick film of droplets pounding again and again all things and beings who stood in its way. The precipitation did not discriminate.
Dana stood at the street corner, struggling to keep her eyes open under the merciless raindrops. No, the precipitation definitely did not discriminate. And Dana had forgotten to bring an umbrella. Right hand shielding her eyes, she leaned to the side to get a better view of the pedestrian signal light, if indeed one could hope to get any view of the light at all through the rain. However, she managed to make out the numbers well enough.
"10...9...8...7..." the LED traffic light read, below the familiar orange upraised hand conveying the universal message: "Stop." Or rather, "Don't go." Dana returned to her original position, counting down the rest of the numbers in her head. Why did cars take so long to move through these intersections?
3...2...1! After another quick check of the pedestrian light to see if her countdown was accurate, Dana navigated the crosswalk with a brisk gait. Just one more block and she'd be home.
Hunching down and folding her arms tightly against her chest—at least she'd brought a raincoat—Dana looked down to watch the cracks of the sidewalk beneath her. She wasn't superstitious, but sometimes she liked to skip over the cracks just to see if she could make it in one stride.
She let out a shuddery sigh. Mom is not going to be happy, I know, when I come home dripping wet. But it couldn't be helped.
The rain seemed to be letting up a little bit. Dana reached up to wipe the water from her eyes, coming to another intersection: the last one before Munroe Apartments, where her home was. This time, there was no waiting at the street corner, for the light showed a white walking stick figure indicated that she should go. On she walked.
As she neared home she remembered with a start the reason she didn't bring her umbrella: it was broken. It had been broken for the past two weeks now; however, she had never gotten another one, perhaps because she had never immediately needed one. This was the first rain Dana's area had gotten since a fortnight before.
Dana knew exactly why she hadn't gotten another umbrella. She could have. Indeed, she'd thought about it many times and had had countless opportunities. But it was one phrase, one thought, that had hindered any action on her part concerning the umbrella.
I'll do it later.
How curious. Later never came.
The familiar brick building loomed before her. Without hesitation Dana stepped inside, stamped her shoes and climbed the stairs until she reached the door with the number "207" above it. She raised her hand and knocked.
The door opened. "Dana!"
Dana said nothing, but waited for the inevitable scolding.
"You're soaking wet, child! What happened? Did you forget your umbrella?"
"Sorry, Mom, it's broken."
"Well, aren't you going to go to the store and get another one? You know, you should have done that when you had first broken it."
I'll do it later.
"Now? But it's raining."
"You can use my umbrella, then. I'll go with you."
Mom! I'll do it later, after the rain.
Dana took a deep breath. "Okay, Mom."
What was it Dad always said about these types of situations?
Dana's mom said it for her. "Procrastinators never win." Mom was right.
Dad had been right.