Different Worlds

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Chapter Two

Ijeoma

I walked into the hospital’s cafeteria with the pastries carefully placed in white transparent bucket which I placed into a BAGCO bag (strong quality polythene bag), most of my colleagues were already here and they were setting up for the day, the cleaner assigned to this part of the hospital was about finishing up her mopping.

I used my free hand to open the little door that was attached to the counter were items were sold; it was used as a demarcation between employees and customers. Fisola, one of my colleagues and the only person I actually talk to walked up to my with a dust rag in hand.

“Good morning, babe” she said in her usual bubbly tone exposing her frontal diastema (open teeth).

“Morning” I replied with a small smile.

“How was your night?” she asked

“I didn’t really get much sleep because I had to finish up making all of these” I replied as I raised the BAGCO bag in my hand.

“Chai, pele” she sympathized with me. (Sorry)

“It’s no problem, it pays bills” I said raising the tone of my voice to sound happy.

“What are you two doing, standing idle and chatting?” The head of the cafeteria and kitchen personnel queried making jump a little.

“Sorry ma” we both chorused as we curtsied.

“Get to work immediately” she ordered before walking away.

“Get to work immediately” Fisola mimicked her bass tone, buffing her chest and waving her hand in the air.

We both laughed at that before dispersing to get to work.

Fisola was a happy go lucky kind of person with a smile plastered on her face all of the time. Sometimes, I wondered if she ever got annoyed with the way she carried on without letting anything weigh on her. I was her complete opposite and she would sometimes jest me saying that ‘I walk around like I’m carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders’ which makes me try to straighten my posture causing her to laugh at my expense. The only thing we had in common was our chocolate brown skin tone and our 5′6 height.

I moved to the counter where the show glass was situated and placed my bag on the floor next to the counter before grabbing a clean towel to wipe the show glass after which I placed a new set of clean aluminum foil in it and then neatly placed the pastries on it. The pastries consisted of meat pies, sausages, doughnuts and muffins. When I first started working here, most of the pastries where ordered from fast food joints like Mr. Biggs and the rest but then one day I brought left over muffins I had made the day before to work and Fisola had one of them. She complimented me and then took another and handed it to our supervisor who asked me if I could make more after tasting it. The other pastries were slowly introduced as time passed and our supervisor was fine with it.

I turned on the small orange bulb that was placed at the corner of the show glass and perched my elbows on the counter and placed my head into my palm as I thought of the tedious day that awaited me.

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The day was half gone and Fisola asked me to help her pick up all the dirty trays on the tables in order for other customers to be able to sit on the tables. She had to make an important call and there were other people who were attending customers so I could step out and it wouldn’t really disrupt anything so I left to clear up the tables.

I picked up all of the used trays and piled them on top each other before using a neat dust rag to wipe the tables clean of any grease spots or liquids that might have been spilled on them. As I picked the pile of soiled trays to head back to the kitchen, I accidently bumped into someone sending the some of the tray flying in the air and then falling to the ground with a clattering sound. I must have been so absorbed in what I was doing for me not to have heard someone approaching my direction.

“What the hell ....” The voice which I recognized to be that of the hospital administrator exclaimed loudly. “Are you flipping blind?!”

I looked up to see a couple of grease spots on his white shirt and as my eyes met his face, if looks could kill I would be six feet under right now.

“I’m so sorry. I didn’t see you t there” I sputtered out apologetically.

“Obviously or you wouldn’t have made such a stupid mistake” He gritted out and I could feel the anger seething out of him. “I have a meeting with some people from the media, how am I supposed to meet the looking like this, huh?”

The manner at which he spoke to me was making me have flashes of memories I didn’t want to ever remember and just thinking about it was making me shudder.

“I’m sorry ... I’m s sorry” my voice was getting shaky and I could feel tears building up.

“Look, I have a spare shirt in my office, you can have it. It was an accident, forget about it” I heard another voice say.

I turned in the direction of the voice and that was when I noticed that we weren’t alone and there was in fact another human being present. The first thing I noticed about this man was his grey colored eyes and then I also noticed that his accent was different from the normal accents I was accustomed to. Although, the accent thing wasn’t unusual because there were a lot foreign doctors from both Africa and beyond, so it wasn’t new.

The hospital administrator gave me an intense glare before walking away with the grey eyed man who gave me an apologetic look before leaving. I took deep breaths to calm myself down as I bent down to pick the trays that had fallen to the ground, Fisola joined me in picking up the trays as she apologized saying ‘if she hadn’t asked me to help her, all of this wouldn’t have happened’ and I just shrugged it off saying ‘it was fine’.

We moved back into the kitchen and dropped the trays and plates which luckily didn’t break from the fall. I didn’t need my salary been deducted in any way as I needed every little money I make and more. I used a wet towel to wipe off some stains on my shirt that I didn’t notice earlier while I was having my bum handed to me.

Once I looked presentable, I headed back to the counter to continue my already bad day with a fake smile plastered on my face.

“Hello, what can I get for you?” I recited to a woman who walked up to the counter.

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