Different Worlds

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Chapter Four

A/N: here you go. Enjoy

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Ijeoma

I placed a few gentle knocks on my friend’s front door with my free hand because in the other was my two year old daughter, Chizolum who was still asleep with her head on my shoulder. In less than five minutes the door opened to reveal her younger sister.

“Temi, how far? Is your sister around?” I asked.

“No, she just left for classes but I’m not having classes so she told me to help you watch over Zozo” she said

“Oh okay, thank you” I said as I passed my child gently to her along with her diaper bag that contain all the necessities

“No problem” she said as she gently rocked her back to sleep as the transferring must have disturbed her sleep.

I grabbed my pastries bucket from the ground where I had placed it when I initially got here and began heading to the bus stop. I checked my wrist watch and I had twenty minutes to get to work. I already knew I wasn’t going to make it on time because getting to the bus stop would take me like ten minutes and then waiting for the bus to fill up with passengers could take—well, there’s no telling how long that will take.

After the long walk, I finally got to the bus stop where a couple of buses were parked with their conductors screaming the destinations they were heading to.

“Chief Anthony ... Onitsha” One of the bus conductors shouted repeatedly.

I walked up to him. “Chief Anthony?”

In this country, I’ve learnt to ask the destination once more before entering any bus because you might think you heard one destination and then before you know it as the bus is moving you start hearing another one.

“Enter” He said in with a gruff voice, pointing to his bus that only had three people currently in it “Na 150 oo. Hold your change”

“Ah ahn, Chief Anthony is 100naira now”

“Fuel scarcity dey, so money don increase” He replied harshly (There’s fuel scarcity and the money has increased)

“Nawa oo” I said. “Na 200naira I get oo” (it’s 200naira I have)

“Enter, change go dey” he replied before going back to calling out his destination. (There will be change)

I entered into the bus and sat down waiting for more passengers to fill up the bus. We may have improved in our health sector but every other one was still trash. I just couldn’t understand how a country that produces crude oil which is refined to get fuel can still undergo scarcity when the Americans they sell the crude oil to, to help them refine it don’t make the same complaints.

I looked at my wrist watch once more and I had just five minutes left and the bus was only half full. In Nigeria, we don’t times in which the buses stay waiting before leaving whether filled or not like other developed countries. We basically have to wait till the bus conductor fills up his bus before leaving for your destination and the driver will never leave the bus stop with a bus half filled because they need every single drop of money they could get.

I looked at the sky and the sun was already up shining it’s light for everyone to see properly, the streets were gradually filling up with people and shops were been opened, getting ready for the day ahead.

The bus finally got filled up and the driver began to move the bus out of the parked spot it had been in for over thirty minutes. The bus conductor began to collect the bus fare from all the individuals in the bus when a middle aged woman handed him a 1000naira note.

“Wetin be dis na? Una no dey here when I talk ‘hold your change’?” The bus conductor shouted. (What’s this? Weren’t you guys here when I said ‘hold the exact amount’)

“I no hear that one oo, better find my change o” the woman retorted stubbornly. (I didn’t hear you, just get me my change)

“See as she dey even talk sef, you wan make I stop you for road, abi?” he said aggravated. (Look at her tone of speaking; do you want me to drop you half way of the journey?)

An argument ensued between both the conductor and the woman making the bus noisy from their heated back lashing. Some people tried to calm them down and some people found the whole display funny as they chuckled at the insults they threw at each other, while some people were indifferent and just wanted to get to our various destinations which was the category I fell in.

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The bold letters of Chief Anthony Memorial Teaching Hospital were staring right in the face. It used to be Chief Anthony Teaching hospital but changed when the father of the owner died as it was said to be named after him.

I hurriedly walked into the hospital, heading to the cafeteria since I was incredibly late. The cafeteria was already set up and a few patients were sitting around, I quickly walked to the counter area so I could quickly set up.

“You’re late” I heard my supervisor say from behind me causing me to jump slightly.

Jesus. It was like she took joy in scaring the hell out of me.

“I’m sorry ma” I said as i slowly turned to face her.

“Do you even take this job seriously at all because I don’t think you do” she said sternly

“No ma, I do”

“It doesn’t look that way to me. Do you know how many people are wishing they could work in such a prestigious hospital?”

I just kept my head bent down as I allowed her to keep ranting to her fill.

“This shouldn’t repeat itself. Now go” she waved her finger at me.

I nodded and walked to my side of the counter to set up and start my day.

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It was late in the evening and raining quite heavily. I realized that I forgot my umbrella at home, I normally carried my portable sized umbrella with every I went because the weather over here was very unpredictable – one minute the sun is shining and the next rain is falling heavily.

I was standing in front of the hospital building under the shade which was protecting me from the rain. I had been standing here for the past ten minutes thinking of how I would walk to the bus stop in this rain as I was about to succumb and step into the rain, a posh looking silver car stopped in front of me.

The tinted glass of the passenger side came down halfway to reveal the grey eyed man from the other day, he gestured with his hands for me to come in but I shook my head, thanking him. I didn’t know who he was and I wasn’t a fan of entering the cars of unknown men.

The glass went up and I breathed a sigh of relief thinking he was going to move along but I was so wrong because he stepped out of the car with an umbrella and walked over to where I was.

“Hi” he said

“Hello”

“Why don’t you want to get in? It’s raining quite heavily and it will be for a couple of hours more” He asked.

I really didn’t know what to say because he was right; the rain didn’t look like it was going to stop anytime soon.

“I don’t really know you” I resorted to my initial reason.

He stared at me for a couple minutes before nodding his head in understanding.

“Well, my name is Noah and I work here” he said offering me his hand.

I looked out the outstretched hand skeptically before shaking it. “Ijeoma”

I don’t know if it was just me because when our hands touched I felt a small jolt of electricity but from the deep intake of breath Noah took, I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt it. I released our hands when I realized we had been holding hands longer than necessary and Noah cleared his throat before muttering ‘sorry’.

“Well, we’re not strangers anymore. Would you get in now?” he said

The rain intensified leaving me with no choice but to agree to go with him. I nodded my head and he helped me to the passenger side of his car with his umbrella before turning around to get into the driver seat.

The whole car was filled with his cologne and the scent was very strong as well pleasing. I sent a text to my friend asking if I could sleep at her place because I couldn’t ask him to stop me at hers first to pick zozo and then drive me to mine. She replied saying it was completely fine and sent a thank you back as I breathed a sigh of relief knowing that was out of the way. I told him where I was heading to and he said he knew the area.

The car was filled with an awkward silence and I wanted to turn on the radio so badly but I couldn’t because it wasn’t my car. After a couple more minutes of uncomfortable silence, Noah cleared his throat one more before speaking.

“I’m sorry about the other day in the cafeteria”

“Oh no, it’s fine. You weren’t the one who yelled at me” I said

“I know but I just felt the need to apologize” He replied

“But you don’t need to”

“I want to” he insisted

“Oh well, thank you. I guess”

Before another round of uncomfortable silence could ensue, we arrived at my destination which I was thankful for.

“That’s my stop” I said pointing at a black gate

“Okay”

He stopped the car at the front of the gate before handing me his umbrella so I could go in.

“Thank you so much” I said as I got down from the car.

“It’s no problem”

I waved him goodbye as he reversed out of the street, when his car finally disappeared from view I realized that I was still standing in the rain holding his umbrella.

God. When did I start acting Indian Film?

I shook my head before turning around and walking into the compound.

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