THE LONGEST WAIT
Angela looked at her watch. It was almost noon. "My God! It is still noon. What has happened to the earth’s revolution? Things are at a standstill “She talked to herself. She moved out of her room and moved towards the restaurant. It was almost full. The waitress noticed her and directed her to a seat next to a square faced man. He didn't take any notice of her. His gaze stayed fixed onto his TabletPC . He kept looking at his watch as if wondering what had happened to the world clock. Angela tried to steal glances at his Tablet. The writing was very small but she could grasp some words and deduce the content and come with her own conclusions He raised his head suddenly and cleared his throat. Startled, Angela looked at him and was met with a cold look. A look warning her to stop eavesdropping.
"Oui Mademoiselle, What do I offer you?" a tall waitress came to her rescue and switched her concentration away from Square Face-a name she had given the man
"Fried rice and chicken stew please"
"It may take at least thirty minutes, Can I bring you soft drinks as you wait"
"No thank you. I'd prefer fresh juice please”
"We have passion fruit juice, pineapple juice, lemonade, orange juice and mixed fruit juice, which one?"
"Mixed fruit juice please”
She took her laptop from her bag to avoid looking at Square Face's gadget. He also tried to look at her laptop. He moved his chair to get a better view. He further stretched his long neck. She clicked. He stopped. Their eyes met. She sneered and gave him that sharp look warning him to mind his business. He smiled .That assuring smile as if to say "We are here for the same goal. She smiled back. He named her 'Snobby
Her juice was brought. He looked at it nodding He ordered the same .
"You have already taken Coca cola" She complained
"It does no harm” He answered
"It does to the pocket" She replied
"Not my pocket." He answered mockingly.
"No?" She asked surprised. He ignored.
Angela's food was brought in a silver tray. She wasn't in any hurry. She ate leisurely, picking the rice with the tip of her spoon. The man's fish and chips was almost finished. He reduced the speed intentionally to wait for Angela. He paid both the bills. Angela protested, but he waved his hand simply. They left the restaurant like acquaintances. They walked towards the sea talking casually and, laughing at little silly things.
Angela glanced at her watch. Square Face also involuntarily did the same. A terrier appeared running after a squirrel. Everyone became alert. Anxiety filled the air. A local preacher knelt raised his hands calling for help from above. Hysterical children screamed and ran in confusion. Angela and the man were hit with the reality.
"Oh! What an awkward way for it to have come!”
Angela laughed even though she felt her heart thumping heavily in her plump chest.
Let's go towards the port"
A plane came flying towards the airstrip next to the port. Everyone looked at the sky .Fear was registered on each of the faces. Angela was more amused than ever. She broke into a hearty laugh. The man joined her.
They showed their work permits at the entrance and got in. They sat in the benches. A crane was offloading cargo from a ship into the backs of waiting men.
"This is a tough job" Angela commented. The man nodded. One of the human porters wasn't fast enough. The second third and more loads piled up on him. The machine had to be stopped before it was too late. The workers were caught unawares. Some of them started moving towards the gate. The human resource officer acted first and took the initiative of explaining to the remaining workers the situation at hand. Calm returned inside the port. Outside was burning. A few workers who had managed to go out and made speculation that it had arrived. The hawkers outside left their goods and went away. The ambulance siren made the people move further away from the vicinity of the port.
They left the port and strolled towards the hotel. They watched the sea. The waves were beating the bank roughly. Moist wind was blowing towards the land making the temperature low. Angela held her coat tightly. Square Face pulled his woven beret and held it in time against the wind. He glanced at his watch. Angela glanced at hers. The sun had beautiful orange colour .Angela took her camera .She photographed the sun.
“This has been the longest day in my entire life" Angela conmen
"Sounds like a lifetime,” He agreed
They stopped near a park looking at different things. An elderly woman with crutches smiled at them reassuringly ‘A young couple was having difficult time cooling their twin toddlers. One of them carrying a red toy car. The other, a blue one. The former is throwing tantrum. He now wants to own both the cars. His brother who is holding the car closely to his chest is screaming equally loudly". Onlookers are enjoying the scene. Some are offering advice. Others are simply cheering.
Suddenly, someone shouted "There it is!" The crowd dispersed immediately.
They strolled back to the hotel.
Can we have supper?"
"Not" Angela shook her head
"Snobby as usual” He thought.
“I wouldn't like a full stomach to spoil everything."
"Sure" He agreed "But we can take something light," he suggested “All right" She accepted
They took sizzling hot tea and some cookies.
"Which room are you in?" He asked
"I am in the next room"
They exchanged phone numbers.
Angela went to her room, took a warm bath. She checked her satellite computer. “Were the calculations right?” She wondered .Then she spotted a student wave made her calculations then lied on the bed .She rolled and turned on the bed. Sleep evaded her. She rose took her satellite Tablet and went to the balcony. She found Square Face holding his tablet.
"I've never waited for anything for this long"
"I've also never have to wait for something that drains and squeeze all energy out of me like this, said laughingly. They talked about many general things. From politics, sports, music, scientific innovations and even religious doctrines.
They talked for a long time almost forgetting what their mission was. Angela’s Tablet vibrated she stopped and observed the Tablet. Square Face jumped, forgetting his own Tablet .He looked at Angela's Tablet and noticed the NASA logo. The Tablet showed “Skylab approaching The Pacific Ocean”
"Esperanza” the screen showed
There was as light earth tremor
Angela posted her report on her Tablet. Square Face shared the videos and photographs to his Tablet.
Before they left for St Peters, Square Faced said "I'm Harrold James from Astronomical News Agency”
"I'm Angela Simpson, an astronomer from NASA"
He took a ring from his jacket. On one knee “Will you marry me?”
He placed the ring on her finger. Bystanders cheered ,They hugged and boarded Harrold’s 'car to St Peters.