It was mid afternoon and there weren't that many people in the cafeteria so there wasn't much to do, we were all just standing about only with a few of us attending to customers. I had lunch with Noah about two hours ago and I was already missing him and his cheeky smile, I had to admit he was growing on me quite fast.
I stood at my side of the counter watching Fisola with an amused smile on my face; she was attending to one of the male doctors in the hospital, Dr. Anas who is Moroccan and if you didn't know Morocco is known for having some of the most handsome men in Africa and French Montana is a perfect example.
Dr. Anas was not an exemption of that saying as he was one of the doctors that a lot of females working at the hospital were crushing on. He is light brown skinned, tall, handsome and spotted a neatly kept stubble. He was a very friendly doctor and easy to get along with which made him even more desirable to people mostly especially women.
I had never seen Fisola this shy and quiet in anyone's presence before since I had known her. She was usually very outspoken, cheerful and chatty with her customers but in front of him she became very quiet and timid: she couldn't even meet his eyes. It was like she had transformed to a whole other human being in his presence but the sad thing was he wasn't even aware of his effect on her as he tapped away on his phone while awaiting his order.
I made a mental note to tease her senseless on this matter when our shifts was over. Taking my gaze away from them to glance around the cafeteria, my eyes landed on someone I never expected to see here which made my eyes widen, my lips slightly come apart and my heart rate increase immediately. It was the same person I thought I had seen back at the amusement park which I dismissed thinking it was a figment of my imagination but as it turns out, it wasn't.
He was standing a few feet across from me, looking around the cafeteria with a small men's purse in hand. I wanted to run and hide just so he wouldn't see me but I seemed to be transfixed and my legs weren't responding to the order my brain was giving it.
When our eyes locked, my heart rate tripled and my breath hitched as he approached me with quick strides, his eyes were wide open with shock as he never imagined he would be seeing me here and the same could be said for me.
My father looked older than I last remembered; he looked a little emaciated and his eyes were sunken deep into his sockets, the gray hairs on his head were more evident now but other than that he looked the same.
It was too late to run and hide now because he was already standing in front of me, we both stood looking at each other overwhelmed by the shock of seeing each other. I remembered that he was the same man that threw me out of his house when I needed his love and support the most and that quickly snapped me out of my state of shock.
I cleared my throat. "Good day sir, what can I get for you?"
He looked taken aback by my words as he stared at me with a guilt ridden look on his face. He opened and closed his mouth like he wasn't sure what to say. The more I looked at him the more overwhelmed with emotions I got and I was trying so hard to fight back the tears that was making its way to my eyes.
"I-Ij-Ijeoma" he finally let out.
"What can I get for you, sir" I said firmly, ignoring his calling of my name.
My control was gradually slipping with every passing moment he was in my presence and I knew that if I didn't walk away this minute, I would end up either yelling at him like a crazy person or break down and cry like a baby and I didn't want for either of those to happen so I walked up to Fisola who was now less busy and told her to take over for me before speed walking into the staff break room.
As soon as I got into the staff break room and locked the door behind me, I finally broke down. Leaning on the door, I exhaled the breath I had been holding before slowly sliding down onto the floor with my hands over my mouth muffling out the sound of my cries.
I had never imagined that I would be seeing my father again or at least not at my place of work where I couldn't react how I wanted without causing a scene, that is if I knew how to react because as of right now my mind was jumbled and I couldn't think straight.
A lot of thoughts were running through my mind simultaneously like 'what is he doing here in Anambra and not Lagos?' Although, Anambra was our state of origin but the part of Anambra in which the hospital was located wasn't anywhere near my home town, so I couldn't really fathom why he was here. 'Was he sick?' Not that I would care. Was he the only one here or was I going to run into another family member?
I used my hands to wipe my eyes that were clouded with tears, making my vision blurry before slowly standing to my feet and walking over to my locker. I opened it and grabbed a roll of tissue paper which I kept in there just in case, I rolled out a small quantity before detaching it from the rest and using it to blow out my now clogged up nose.
Throwing the used toilet paper into the waste bin at the corner of the room, I pulled out a chair and sat down on it. I slouched down on the seat, letting my head rest on the top of the seat and allowing my mind to wander off.
Noah and I were in his car on our way to my apartment and I was so relieved to be out of the hospital. I had spent the next two and a half hours leading to the end of my shift in the staff break room because I didn't want to risk seeing my father twice in one day, once was already enough to spoil my day. Luckily for me, our supervisor wasn't in so she wasn't there to question why I wasn't working and send me back to my post.
"Are you good?"
"Huh?" snapping out of my thoughts, I turned to face Noah
"Are you okay? You're awfully quiet" He took his eyes off the road for a couple seconds to look at me.
"I don't know—"I replied truthfully before proceeding to recount all that had happened after we had lunch.
Noah listened attentively without any interruptions as I narrated everything that went down.
"What do you think he was doing at the hospital?" Noah asked after I was done with my story telling.
"I have no idea" I said truthfully whilst rubbing my temple. "I just know he was as surprised as I was which meant the both times I saw him were coincidental"
He used one of his hands to grab a hold of mine while the other remained on the steering wheel. "Well, I'm here for you, okay?" He said caressing the back of my palm."Whatever you need"
"Thank you" I whispered out.
He nodded and then placed a soft kiss inside the palm of my hand he was holding before properly focusing on the road.
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