“I can’t believe it, some asshole almost ran me over.”
Neha barely recuperated her breath as she remembered how the motorbike dashed in front of her. If it had passed an inch closer, the 2nd of January 2021 would have been her last day Neha ever ate pancakes and maple syrup.
The woman who thought her time had come sought for an empathetic ear. Unfortunately, her interlocutor had something else in mind.
“I swear if ever I catch him.”
“Ssh, how do I look?” Anais asked.
“Good, what’s up?”
“He’ll be here soon?” Anais replied while she tucked a chestnut strand of hair behind her ear.
“Who will be here?” Neha asked. She pushed up her glasses and looked about the lobby.
“You know the sexiest man who ever got admitted in the whole hospital,” Anais said as she smiled in front of her hand mirror. She wanted to have the perfect facial expression to welcome the man.
Neha cocked an eyebrow, “I’m telling you I almost died, and you, my friend, are blabbering about some stud who got admitted here. Are you for real?”
“Ssh, here he comes.”
Anais grinned; Neha sneered and turned to see the sexiest man who ever walked on earth arrive.
He beamed like a candidate in a beauty pageant; Neha’s eyes shifted to the helmet in his hand. The woman rose an accusative finger, “you’re the asshole who can’t drive.”
“I beg your pardon.”
“You heard, right. You should get your license taken away. You’re a hazard, and to think God spared your life so you could drive like that.”
Neha could be mistaken, many people had motorbikes, but the man’s response proved she had her culprit, “well, you’re the idiot who can’t read a red light,” the man returned.
“Oh, my,” Neha placed her forefinger and index on her forehead, “I can’t believe you are arguing instead of saying sorry.”
Dominque’s eyebrows knitted together crochet style, it was nine in the morning, and he came for a checkup. The attack knocked hard like a drill alarm, “the light was green. Sorry, perhaps you should check your eyesight for color blindness. I’m responding to your aggressivity because I’m right.”
Neha rose both eyebrows and blinked, “say what? Dude, you’re crazy. We’re in France, and I’m a pedestrian; I have the priority. I hadn’t finished crossing. I can’t even believe you're retorting.”
“Wait, Anais, this man here has got some nerve.”
“Shiri,” Anais insisted.
Neha felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned to found Doctor Moire standing behind her; “well, I see you still don’t know what being on time means, doctor Dereje.”
Where most would be embarrassed, Neha shamelessly pointed at Dominque. At this instant, the woman didn’t care about seeming petty and childish, “doctor, I can explain. It’s this man’s fault; he almost killed me.”
“I said I had a green light,” Dominque repeated.
“So you are dumb and displined like military, who bombard even when there’s civilian? I mean, dude, you saw me.”
Dominque glared at the woman who held his stare. He flexed his brows for the snipper killer’s gaze, and the woman did a moe face as if to say, you think you’re intimidating me.
Something about her was familiar. Where had the man seen her before?
“Even her name rang like one Dominque heard before.”
Neha pursed her lips and turned away. Dominque watched her hurry along in her tie and dye Collison sweater, slim pants, and Converse. The man found himself wondering how old she was. From his standing point, Neha looked like a teen late for high school. It was difficult to believe the hot-mouthed woman was a doctor.
What retained his attention was the Converse. The man didn’t understand why people loved them so much. Walking in Chuck Taylor’s was an unpleasant experience for Dominque, who preferred the airbase he had in his Air Force. For him, one might as well walk barefooted if they appreciated the All-Stars. Air Force versus Converse, they were not made to get along.
“Sorry, Mr. Miguens, please follow me,” doctor Moire prompted.
“That woman is crazy. I had a green light,” Dominque said as he attempted to convince the surgeon. He threw a last glance down the hall, but Neha was long gone.
What was wrong with the woman?
“Please forgive doctor Dereje. She’s, let’s say, a passionate one.”
The term used by the doctor was inappropriate and made Dominque want to laugh ironically. Neha was savage in his opinion.
The day had just begun, and doctor Moire was already exhausted by the third-year resident. Neha was one of those with a natural talent. Doctor Moire placed high hopes, but Neha was a loudmouth know-it-all who had too many things to express. Yet she forced admiration as she was part of what some considered a population from the French capital’s priority zones, aka the ghettos. What saved Neha from becoming Tupac's Brenda was her strict mother and her brains, which allowed her to gain scholarships.
Neha was more an excuse-my-French type of person than your prude doctor from the chic arrondissement of Paris. The hospital didn’t seem a stage big enough for her expansive personality. And here she demonstrated once more she was not one to be chewed.
Doctor Moire dismissed Neha from his mind and returned his focus to Dominque, “so, are you feeling?”
“Good, really good.”
“Well, I’ve got more good news for you. There won’t be a follow-up of your treatment with dialysis. We’ll keep monitoring. You still have your prescriptions to take.”
Dominque sat up, “so can I hope going back to work?”
“Yes, but I suggest you opt for a slight change. Perhaps something in the office instead of operational.
“Doctor, my squad is waiting for me.”
“It’s for you, Mr. Miguens; having a new kidney doesn’t mean you can go playing G.I Joe right away.”
The joke did not make Dominque smile; he wished to go back to work as soon as possible. He wanted to return to his ordinary life, and the national defense was all he had left.
“Mr. Miguens, you had a hard year. Why don’t you take some time to do something else? I’m sure there are things you would like to do other than raids and stakeouts.”
Dominque pondered for a second, “you’re right, doctor. I’ll take it easy.”
“Great, you needn’t come once a week, but every fortnight. Please follow a strict diet. And if you feel any discomfort, please call an ambulance.
Dominque’s new life was full of instructions and warnings the man had to observe. The man who thought he would never see another year could now plan for a future. Unfortunately, he had no one to share his new life with, but it was just the start of the year.
Anything could happen.