“Sefa Addison please.”
The nurse looked over her sheet again to be sure and stared at the faces in the room, studying each one. She wore a frustrated smile and was obviously doing her best not to yell. This was the third time she’s calling the name in a minute. Someone should be answering.
“Do we have Mr. Sefa Addison please, in this waiting area?”
Sefa’s head lifted quickly, making contact with the nurse in less than a second. He smiled. The nurse nodded him towards her. Sefa looked at her. He must have been called a thousand times to warrant that hurry up smile she wore on her face. She seemed unwilling to talk either. Her words were almost hushed and her breath calculated.
“You’ll be seeing Dr. Fafa. She’s in the second room to your left. Here’s your folder.”
“Alright.” Sefa took the folder and looked over it. The name wasn’t his.
“Ma’am please this reads Kofi Koomson.”
“And you’re not.”
She looked at him bewildered. Her words carried a plea for no more mishaps. Sefa shook his head gently. All the while having a gracious smile on his face.
“Oh Yes.” She said as if remembering, turned the files resting on the desk over and picked up the top one, turning it to reveal the name. “Here” She took the folder from Sefa and handed him the new one. “Sefa Addison. Same room however.”
Her attention went to another nurse, younger than her by not more than three years and who had come by with some more folders.
“The place is getting overcrowded too fast for a Friday.”
She heaved a sigh and with an unintended thump, put the folders by the pile already there.
“Same thing Miss Forson and Musa were saying back there. I think I’m too new to know.”
She aimed a warm smile at the older nurse and got lost around the corner. The nurse resumed attention to her previous preoccupation, looking straight at the numbers she had to attend to, her displeasure slowly affecting the frustrated smile hewed into her face.
She caught a glimpse of Sefa and stared at him, almost rudely. What she thought was as clear as water. What was he doing still standing there? Her face put the question forward.
“I stayed to say thank you and apologise for not being absent-minded earlier. I must have caused you some throat ache.”
Sefa grinned, the tired lines around his eyes showing. He wasn’t one to be in a mood or leave others in it. He succeeded. The nurse’s squared shoulders dropped a bit, almost rounding up, and her countenance brightening up.
Sefa gave a nod, blinking twice and still standing there. The nurse almost laughed. She was now won over completely.
“It’s almost five minutes past Mr. Addison. Dr. Fafa will be wondering if she’s not getting any more patients today.”
“Aaah. Yes. I’ll be on my way. Nice meeting you?”
“Nice meeting you Agnes. Again thanks for the patience.”
Sefa hurried down the hall with his blue folder in hand, the smell of aspirin and antibiotics gradually climbing into his nostrils. This is particularly why he hated clinics, hospitals, pharmacies and even the third cupboard top of the kitchen cabinet; they all smell like medicine, sickness, weakness. And the only time he was weak, he was made a fool of. He chided himself for it, the thought and took hold of the knob to Dr. Fafa’s room. God won’t be glad knowing he’s brooding over such things; situations from almost three decades buried and forgotten. He stopped short and studied his folder.
Why was he even here anyway? Why did he want to see a doctor? His life is fine. He’s happy. He’s saved. He’s in the most satisfying of relationships with God. Why won’t he just leave it, whatever made him faint off when he was over the phone with his daughter, Kate? That day, if he had not just sat on impulse, he would have probably fallen and hit his head at his study and died there, alone. And he would have by now left Kate alone, all alone, orphaned. Who would think a man like him has mistrusts somehow thriving deep in his heart. But he does when it comes to Kate. And particularly he does for Kwaku. She’s safe only with him.
That’s why he’s doing this. He’s doing this for Kate. Whatever lay behind these close doors, whatever Dr. Fafa will interpret the varied tests and scans he’s run for over three days, whatever at all, he’s going to fight. One thing alone is important now.
Kate needs family and he’s the only one she knows and should know.
“She and Dad were there when I got in just as she told me.”
Tara picked chops of beef from the pizza and chewed on them. The distaste from reliving her parents moving in with her stole away every bite she could relish. Sule bit a chunk of the pizza and sat back, half laughing. He swallowed.
“You hate it that much Tara? They’re your parents.”
Tara shook her head and wiped her hands.
“You would too if they were yours.”
Sule twitched his lips and came at the tray full of beef pizza with veggies covering every space.
“So tell me, what’s so bad about having them over?”
“I don’t know exactly. I wanted to be alone this time. Start life like an adult who’s left home to seek her fortune.”
Sule wiped his mouth and gulped down about quarter of the pineapple juice filling his plastic. He sat back and studied Tara. Her hair was down; straightened she said when he asked. Her lipstick was still in place, her brows slightly filled in to match her almost brown hair. He looked, attempting to bore a hole deep down into her soul to find the answers to the question that plagues him whenever he sets eyes on her, like today – why can’t he just love her?
“What are you thinking of?”
Tara set her plastic cup in her palm, sipping her mango juice through the straw. Sule lied.
Tara looked back to her glass. She of course didn’t believe him but what use was it pushing. He’s seen that tinge in his eyes several times to know what he was thinking. Well, not exactly what he thought but what he may. He was no doubt questioning. The way he’s seated back in his chair, his head tilted to the side and his eyes shady, he was in thoughts. Probably deep thoughts about her, them. She bit on her lip and set the plastic cup down.
“Sule, you realize half of the pizza was eaten by you. And this paper of Don Simon will be history in no time.”
“I guess I’m hungry. I’m the man.”
Tara looked him down, amused.
“I’m the man.” She mimicked him. “You’re becoming the man since your meeting with the lady from Target.” She tapped her teeth, trying to recollect something more. “Ahaa, Dzidzor Awoonor. The lady from Target who happens to be the fat girl on Instagram.”
“I don’t think we should be calling her fat. I read it’s insulting to plus size women.” Tara laughed at his tone. “And yes I think she gave me my appetite back.” Tara lurched back in pretended shock and then supporting her cheeks with her palms on her thighs, stared at Sule. Teasing each other as they did was always the highlight of their time together.
“And who won’t get his appetite back.” Sule continued, picking up a tone of a polished British professor. Tara choked on laughter. “Besides dining with such a fine woman, Paps inn has gotten the best advertising deals I can think of.”
They both burst out into laughter and came to a screeching halt when their eyes fell on the clock at the reception desk.
“Don’t say it’s almost 8pm.”
Sule closed the box of pizza and started to pack up the many documents scattered on the chairs between himself and Tara. They had waited after work to have a brief meeting about the deal with Target so they’d be better prepared for the briefing of employees on Monday. The whole thing will set in motion starting the Wednesday of that week. They wanted to be as best prepared as they could be, no taking of losing chances.
“I’m totally late now. It’ll be almost 9pm before I get home.”
Sule unlocked the first drawer from the floor at the receptionist’s and neatly packed the files holding the documents.
“I’ll drop you at Madina and then you’d get a car.”
Tara hurried for her bag from her office and was back in a flash.
“I’m used to your trouble.”
Sule teased and backed off before Tara’s bag she hurled at him could get him. Tara tossed the plastic cups into the bin just by the emergency exit and joined Sule by the switch. They were good to go. Then she remembered.
“I’ll be at the gym by 6 tomorrow morning. Please come on time. And we’ll catch up on the bible study after.”
Then Sule also remembered. He hadn’t informed Tara about Dzidzor.
“I’ll also be there. Maybe earlier. I invited Dzidzor over. You know to apologise and all. And I still mean the long term thingy I told her over IG. I just said it wrongly.”
Tara’s face began to grow pale.
“Oh I see.”
She stepped out and allowed the noise of the street to wash over her heart. What did she care? Sule isn’t hers? And what didn’t she care? Sule is her best friend from since she could write on the fine lines of her exercise books clearly.
First she brought back his appetite and now he’s going to bring back her healthy weight. Why was Dzidzor becoming a competition overnight?
©M’afua Awo Twumwaah 2016.