She sat by the window for hours. Runny nose, high temperature, waiting for the young man. This wasn’t how she envisioned her day off. What’s the point in asking for time off work to hang with a gentleman if the gentleman was going to be late anyway?
She watched as the traffic built up on the streets. From lunch time to rush hour. She could’ve left. She could’ve just paid for her cup of hot chocolate, walked out and then called the gentleman with a flimsy excuse. She could’ve. She couldn’t. She’d already said “oh no, it’s okay. Don’t worry about it.” She’d already brushed off the lateness as one of those things. She couldn’t get angry now.
The view was lovely. A lady with her three young ones came to get ice-cream. Half an hour later, the dad showed up. Beautiful family. Picture perfect. She wanted that. She envisioned a life like that for herself, adding or subtracting anything that she thought was important to the vision.
Moments later, a young woman, probably in her late twenties or early thirties, showed up. She watched as she got down from her car, wore her shades, then made her way towards the entrance. She looked simple, yet elegant in her ocean blue jeans and a crisp white shirt. She wore a brown pair of closed heels. Business looking, yet Friday casual. As the girl by the window watched the woman walking in, she wanted that too. The put-togetherness of a career woman. She imagined how the woman walking in, who had just about entered the café, was into business. A businesswoman. Brokering deals and closing contracts. She could almost picture herself living that life. Walking into a café to grab something light on her way to an after-work engagement, while looking as fly as she did when she left home that morning. She was enchanted – not particularly by the woman in dark shades, but by the idea of who she was.
After an hour, the family had long since left. The woman in shades, forgotten. There were still people hustling and bustling, but the girl’s mind was too tired to wonder who they were and what their lives were like. Her cold hadn’t abated and sitting in an open place trying to look as cool as the people she saw, did not help her situation. She wanted to go home. The sun was setting, and she’d lost the fight in her. The only thing keeping her in her seat was the fact that she’d become too tired to leave.
Her phone rang. The gentleman had finally arrived. Her eyes weren’t glazed anymore. There was a slight twinkle in them. Finally, she thought. She watched as he hobbled across the car park. With his big bag and quick steps, he made his way towards the entrance. At least he was trying to look like he was in a hurry, she mumbled to herself. She had her back to the entrance, so though she knew he’s entered, she still stared outside. Suddenly fixated on the passers-by she’d previously abandoned.
I am so sorry, he apologised. She knew he was sorry. Which is why it was so difficult to get angry or walk away. He was sorry. So instead of chastising him, she smiled, runny nose and all. She smiled and asked him to have a seat. Reassuring him that she was okay. Slightly sick, but totally okay. He felt even more terrible. He’d made a sick person sit in a café this whole time waiting. Especially after requesting time off work. He apologised again. Then, he mumbled something along the lines of ‘I even thought you’d leave at a point’. She smiled again and thought to herself, so did I.
Nana Agyeiwaa Nyameba